Terracotta Warriors

Target Level: Kindergarten [Can be enhanced for older grades]

During a discovery unit on Ancient China, we like to do this lesson after we talk about Emperor Qin and his building of the first section of the Great Wall of China.


  • Students will listen to the story “The Emperor’s Silent Army: Terracotta Warriors of Ancient China.”
  • Recall Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi as the first Emperor of China
  • Recall Emperor Qin as building the beginning section of the Great Wall of China
  • State what a discovery is
  • State what an archeologist does
  • Use simple tools to uncover clay warriors
  • Use graphs to show where warriors were found
  • Tell findings of their graph to the class
  • Work cooperatively in small groups

PA State Standards

Subject Area: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening

Standard Area:1.2 Reading and Analyzing and Interpreting Text:

1.2.K.B: Identifying facts from informational text.

1.2.K.C: Identify important information within an informative text, with teacher guidance.

Subject Area: Mathematics

Standard Area: 2.6 Statistics and Data Analysis:

2.6.K.A: Gather data in response to questions posed to learners.

2.6.K.C: Answer questioned based on data shown on graphs or charts.

Subject Area: Science

Standard Area: Science and Technology and Engineering Education:

3.3.K.B3: Use simple equipment (tools and other technologies) to gather data and understand that this allows scientists to collect more information than relying only on their senses to gather information.

Methods of Assessment

  • Children will discuss prior knowledge of the inventions and great structures discussed in previous talks on China. Children will look at charts and graphs previously done in the classroom, and discuss what information they share. (eg. weather charts, temperature graphing, eye color charts…)
  • Teacher will guide and assist when necessary during the “Dig” to graph/plot their findings
  • Students will complete their graphs/charts. Answer questions from looking at their findings and share their information with the class.

How to Carry Out the Lesson

  • Prior to lesson, teacher reads “The Emperor’s Silent Army: Terracotta Warriors of Ancient China.”
  • Teacher will ask “Who can recall the first Emperor of China? What do we already know about him?” List answers.
  • Ahh! There’s something else that we don’t know about him! Another great discovery about Ancient China that happened not so long ago. Give time for predictions
  • What exactly does that mean? Great discovery?
  • Read story.
  • Discuss role of archeology and what it means to be an archaeologists.
  • Explain that the children will now become archaeologists too! Go over the paper grid charts and actual “dig” site. Show how they match. Give them an example of how their dig would work (tools and graphs). Divide class into small groups (or you may have one group at a time dig. Up to you. Each group will have to work together cooperatively with tools to uncover warriors in their “plot of land,” chart their data, answer questions on sheet, and share with the class.


  • Clip boards with paper grid for plotting, and sheet of questions to be answered after the dig.
  • Dig site- sand table or low plastic containers filled with dirt.
  • Use string to grid off your “dig site.” Run stings horizontally and vertically while taping them at the ends of your “dig site.” You will make squares while doing this. Less for big squares, more for smaller spaces. Then take papers to label columns and rows ABCDE and 12345 (more if you like or less. You know the group you are working with best) Now your students will be able to plot where they found their warriors eg. E4 would be a plotted spot.
  • Clay Warriors – make ahead of time out of self drying clay or you can purchase figuring’s of the actual warriors.
  • Old paint brushes and plastic forks and spoons to brush off figures and gently dig

Differentiated Instruction

Group students heterogeneously to enhance peer help and instruction. Teacher will also assist with groups when need be.


Great clip explaining the story and actual visuals of the site

Another good visual clip

The book and some other extension books found here

Figurines for purchase here, if you choose not to make your own

Lesson Analysis

  • What went well?
  • Planning reflection
  • Teaching reflection
  • Improvements to be made

Additional Resources:

  • The Impact of Islamic Culture on the Arts of the Renaissance
    • Monika Cerkez, Crossing Borders/Breaking Boundaries IV: Sponsored by the Maryland State Department of Education and the University of Maryland’s Center for Renaissance & Baroque Studies, Lesson target level: Grades 9-12 and Special Education