Korea is located in the northeastern part of the Asian continent, neighboring China, Russia, and Japan. The name Korea means “Land of Morning Calm.” Yet, throughout its existence, Korea has been involved in numerous conflicts, both internal and external. Today, despite attempts at reunification, the Korean peninsula is divided into a communist North and a democratic South.
One of the Koreans’ many achievements is the role they played in the development of early printing. The Dharani Sutra, printed in Korea in 750, was the first one in the world to be produced using woodblocks. The Koreans also created a distinctive type of pottery known as celadon, developed from Song Chinese pottery. Seven of Korea’s buildings or areas, including two Buddhist temples, have been designated by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage sites, and six Korean artifacts, including the Tripitaka, are now on UNESCO’s Memory of the World register.
This unit can be used in conjunction with world history, Asian studies, or United States history courses. A Korean perspective can be explored when studying the neolithic era, Chinese influence on greater East Asia, Japanese imperialism, Cold War, and recent issues involving North Korea.
Upon completing this unit, students
will be able to:
1.Describe early farming settlement in Korea in the context of the neolithic era.
2. Explain influences of Confucianism on the cultural life in Korea.
3. Describe Buddhist teaching and practices in Korea and their influence on social and cultural life.
4. Explain the Korean contribution to the early history of printing.
5. Analyze the causes and consequences of Japanese colonialism in Korea.
6. Analyze the significance of the Korean War in twentieth-century history.
7. Explain the division of the Korean peninsula into two states as a source of tension in the world today.
Time and Materials
Each lesson can stand on its own and can be completed in one class-period or less. Computers are needed to connect to Internet sites.
Table of Contents
Why this unit?
Time and materials
The historical context
Dramatic Moment: The March 1 Movement
Lesson 1: Early Korea
Lesson 2: Korean Art and Architecture
Lesson 3: Early Printing
Lesson 4: The Yangban
Lesson 5: The Independence Movement
Lesson 6: The Korean War
Lesson 7: The Two Koreas: Fifty Years and Beyond
This unit and the Three Essential Questions
This unit and the Seven Key Themes
This unit and the Standards in Historical Thinking