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Learning area: History
Year level: Year 7
Country: China
General capability:

This learning sequence explores the life and importance of Confucius. Through research, students examine the historical context of the achievements and significance of Confucius and how his sayings are relevant today.


Confucius was a Chinese teacher who lived from 551 to 479 BCE. His teachings and sayings have influenced Chinese society and beyond and are still referred to today.

  1. Watch the mini biography of Confucius below.

  2. Use the thinking routine, See–Think–Wonder, while watching this video:
    • See: What did you see in the video? This includes facts and new information as well as images.
    • Think: What do you think influenced Confucius to do the things he did? What motivated and guided him?
    • Wonder: What other questions do you have about this central figure in Chinese history and life?


  1. In groups of three, watch the video Discovering China – Confucius below.

    Each person in the group should use one of the following questions as the focus of their historical inquiry:
    • the social structure of China when Confucius lived
    • Confucius' life and achievements
    • how Confucius was perceived by his contemporaries.
  2. Further explore the life and times of Confucius by looking at Confucius from's section on Asian History and Zhou Dynasty (c. 1050-256 BCE) from Asia for Educators. You can skim-read these pages or search for Confucius on them to find related information.
  3. Confucius is famous for his many wise sayings. Because the sayings are so popular, people often create more modern translations that are a little easier to understand even though they may not be completely accurate. So that you can explore the wisdom of Confucius, use the links below to complete the tasks. After reading and viewing the quotations, answer these questions:

    Confucius quotes – from World of Quotes

    • What would you say were the three to five things most important to Confucius?

    Confucius on Pinterest

    • Based on the popularity of some sayings, what do think people find most appealing about Confucius?
    • Which quotation do you like the most and why? How does it relate to your life?


Confucius held many roles during his long life, but he was always a teacher. Based on what you have learnt about his life, times and sayings, reflect on the following:

  • What were the most important characteristics of Confucius' life in ancient China? In what ways can these apply to your life and our times?
  • Confucius said: 'To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.' What do you imagine he was saying about education and what do you think about this? Use examples from your life as evidence to support why you agree or disagree with him.

Discuss your responses as a class.

It is recommended that teachers preview websites and videos to ensure they are suitable for their students before they are used in class. Content accessed via these links is not owned or controlled by Asia Education Foundation and is subject to the terms of use of the associated website.

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