Secrets of the Dead: China’s Terracotta Warriors

Media Item

Bibliographic Information: PBS. Secrets of the Dead: China’s Terracotta Warriors. 2011.

Plot Description:
Archeologist and scientists examine the collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, that were found in 1974, dating back to about 2200 years ago. They determine how the clay figures were created. Engineers recreate armor and weapons found among the statues and test their effectiveness. (Spoilers: they’re very effective. It took the Western world over a thousand years to catch up.)

Quantitative Reading Level: Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 55.4

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This television episode is presented in first- and third-person, focusing on the history of China. It teaches the science behind the artifacts. The media is 10th grade level.

Content Area: Social Science-History

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Reading for 6-12: #2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms; #4  Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context; #5 Analyze how the text structures information or ideas into categories or hierarchies, demonstrating understanding of the information or ideas; #9 Synthesize information from a range of sources; #10 Read and comprehend science/technical texts in appropriate grades.
  • CCSS for Writing for 6-12: #9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • CCSS for Language 6-12:  #3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening; #4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great tool to use in Social Science Curriculum. It is best suited to 9th grade through 12th grade. It explores history and archeology.

Supporting Digital Content:


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