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Outing #5: What Emperor are you?

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China


We finished our “week of the ancients” by exploring the Great Wall of China. We talked about how and why Chinese emperors ordered it built, what a “dynasty” is, and especially the impressive technology developed by Ancient Chinese cultures.

To start your journey, check out this interesting map of the different sections of the wall built by six dynasties over more than 1500 years.

Then, watch this short video from the Smithsonian Channel about the original inspiration and construction of the first iteration of the wall. (I’m not a fan of how they sensationalize the conflict and describe the Mongols as simply “terrifying raiders from modern Mongolia.” So, we stopped to talk about that a bit too.)

Then, take a virtual tour from on top of some of the remaining sections of the wall.


  • What most interests you about how and why Chinese emperors decided to build such a huge wall across China?

  • Look at where the wall was built. Why do you think that they chose to put the wall in those places?

  • What do you think the challenges would have been to build such a huge wall through the mountains, forests, and deserts of China?


Try out PBS’s What emperor are you? interactive quiz. The Adventure Whales (my group of virtual adventurers) LOVED this activity and asked to do it three different times.

(You can find more PBS activities about China—ancient and modern—here.)

Try this quick trivia game that I created to learn about other technological wonders from ancient China and around the ancient world. Play it as a slideshow so you don’t give away the answers. Follow the links included in the slide show to learn more.


Post your favorite Chinese invention (ancient or modern) in the comments below, via Facebook, or by email!

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