China History Co-op. Week 9 - Tang Dynasty

Week 9 - We made printing blocks.

During the Tang dynasty drinking tea became part of the culture. It's popularity grew with the invention of printing. We began the history co-op by watching a Traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony.

Pouring the hot water into the pot, then into the cups, and dumping it out is actually a very important science lesson. This was done for two reasons. Boiling water serves as a sanitizer by killing germs. It also warms up the pot and cups so the tea stays hot longer. If the tea were poured directly into the cold pot, the heat would transfer from the tea into the pot, thus making the tea cold. Since hot water is poured in first, it warms the pot. Then when the tea is put into the pot it is in direct contact with a warm pot instead of a cold one and therefore stays hot longer.

After watching the tea ceremony, the kids had their own tea party complete with Chinese rice candy and fortune cookies.

Wood block printing was invented during the Tang Dynasty. A page would be carefully carved into a wooden block and then the image from the page could be recreated over many times through inking the wood block and pressing paper on top of the wood.

The kids had a chance to create their own wood printing blocks.

Since they are not yet expert woodworkers, a layer of foam was glued on top of the wooden blocks. The foam was much easier to carve than a block of wood.

First they chose their design and drew it onto the block as a mirror image.

An adult used a knife to trace around the design making it a little easier to carve. Then they used screwdrivers to carve away the excess foam.

Finally they were able to test out their wood printing blocks. They enjoyed the activity so much that they each made 3 or 4 printing blocks.

At home we read the book Empress of China: Wu Ze Tian which was about the only female emperor of China. She ruled first through her husband and then through her son during the Tang dynasty. It was an interesting picture book which we easily read in one sitting.

To see our other Ancient China activities please visit our history page.

This post is linked to:
True Aim Education


  1. OOH this looks like a great craft for our studies in a couple of months:) I already have your Scythians posts in my notes:)

  2. What wonderful print blocks! I love this idea! It is such a great way to display symbols!

    Thank you for linking to Read.Explore.Learn.

  3. What a wonderful post. Come share it at our linky party: (where you btw will find lots of great crafts for kids (and playful adults alike)

  4. I love the tea ceremony. We tried foam block carving, but it was not overly successful, yours turned out great!

    Thanks for linking up to Science Sunday!

  5. That is so fun. What a great way to learn about this. I love the craft at the end. I'll have to remember that. Thanks so much for linking up to tip-toe thru tuesday. I hope we see you next week.

  6. We loved projects like this when we homeschooled, instill the love of learning! Thanks for sharing on Hearth & Soul Hop. :)


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