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Geography of China

Goals & Objectives

Students will learn about the diverse physical features of China. Students will analyze the impact of China’s geography on the ability of the Chinese government to rule its people and protect its borders.

California Content Standard

7.3 Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the civilizations of China in the Middle Ages.

Lesson Introduction

Ask students to find China on a map of the world. Activate their prior knowledge by asking basic geography questions such as: What continent is China on? What ocean borders China? What countries are neighbors to China? Where is China in relation to the United States? Provide students with an outline map and have them write down their responses to the questionsTechnology Connection: Students can use online resources and maps, and Google Earth® during the activity.


Have students create a Picture Dictionary of the important geographic terms in the lesson. Key Terms include: river, mountain range, plateau, basin, plain, desert, depression, sea and ocean. Technology Connection: Students can search for images to represent the meaning of the important words, copy and paste the images into a table, and write a short description of the word.

Content Delivery

Provide a brief overview of the basic geographic features of China. Use the students' picture dictionaries to show and discuss the characteristics of each key term. Project these images using a document camera or other projection device. Review how to locate geographic features and places on a map using cardinal directions and latitude and longitude. Technology Connection: Construct a multimedia presentation using any of the presentation tools.

Student Engagement

Divide the class into pairs. Provide each pair with a list of questions that asks them to search for and locate specific geographic features in China. Once students complete the assignment, review the mapping questions using the Presentation below.  Technology Connection: Students can use Google Earth® or Google Maps® to locate, view, and bookmark sites they find in response to the geographic questions.

Assign each group one physical feature or region of China. Have the group explore and create a short presentation on the assigned feature or region and share it with the class. Technology Connection: Students can collectively make a video in Google Earth® where they each show and discuss their assigned geographic location.  When the video is complete, the students will present it to the class either through a class presentation, or through publishing it on the web for their classmates to view.

Critical Thinking

Discuss with students where the best place to live in China would be for farming, for industry, for trade, and why. Discuss the difficulty of governing a vast and physically diverse country and how different people would contribute to the governing process. Technology Connection: Have students post their responses in the class blog.

Demonstrated Learning

Have students create a travel brochure advertising the geographic features of China. The brochure should include a description and image of each region and a discussion of the impact the geography has on the ability to farm, travel, communicate and trade. Technology Connection: Students can use any publishing software or web-based tool to create a brochure.