World Cultures with the emphasis on China

Subject: Social studies
Summary: Students learn about Mao’s reforms in China by watching a documentary, taking notes and marking down relevant information and being able to contextualize it and present it to the class.
Activity length: Duration is approximately 90 minutes.
  • Students learn about Mao’s reforms in China.
  • Students develop the skill of taking notes, forming arguments and presenting them.

Teacher prepares the overview and some visual aids about Mao’s reforms in communist China

Teachers sets up the documentary Declassified Chairman Mao.

Teacher prepares note taking papers with the structure of an argument on them, so that the students would take notes and write them immediately as arguments.

Teacher has though out lead questions and is ready to facilitate a discussion.


Part 1: Teacher gives essential information about Mao’s Great Leap Forward and Cultural revolution. Teacher also shows students the documentary about the topic. In the documentary historians/politicians talk about Mao’s political reforms and try to deconstruct his character and policies. During the documentary students should take notes. Students should note different observations and opinions from the speakers in the documentary about Mao’s character and policies.

Part 2: The teacher facilitates an organized discussion about different perceptions about Mao’s rule in China, and different narratives/perspectives from outlined from the speakers in the documentary. Students can share their different opinions written down as arguments. Teacher makes a conclusion of students’ opinions and the impact of Mao’s reforms had on China and the world.


Students can be assessed regarding the activity of their participation. Also written arguments can be marked by the teacher.