An Introduction to Korean History

Lessons:

  • Korean History – The Basics: A basic overview of ancient Korean history through the end of the Joseon period, including distinct cultural contributions from each of the the three Korean dynasties.
  • Pungsu, the Art of Korean Geomancy: A detailed look at an ancient spiritual technique for understanding the flow and balance of energy through and over the earth.
  • King Sejong the Great: Rooted firmly in Korea’s Confucian tradition, King Sejong the Great, reigning from 1418 to 1450, inventing and promoter of Hangul, stands as the most preeminent and renowned of the Korean scholar heroes.
  • Admiral Yi Sun-sin: Despite a complete lack of naval training, during the seven years Korea was consumed by the two Japanese invasions, Admiral Yi never once suffered defeat at sea, emerging victorious in all battles and playing a decisive role in defending Korea.

Scenes from South Korea, 2015 – supplementary photos to enhance a sense of place.

This unit is broken into four media rich texts, each of which should take approximately one class period for students to process.  These are completely modular – they can be taught consecutively in cooperation with each other or as standalone lessons.  Texts are based on original writing by the author and open sourced texts from the internet at large.  They are full of hyperlinks, encouraging curious students to click and surf in a natural and fluid digression that enriches the central concepts.  The texts are accompanied by three to four prompts which are designed to function according to an educator’s need.  Most can serve alternatively as discussion or short answer questions, essay prompts, or departure points for further research into Korean history, or the basis of full on student projects.  If a teacher were to assign every prompt, this unit could serve as the basis of an intensive, Common Core aligned two-three week investigation of Korea appropriate for either middle or high school grades, but at its core, it is designed to serve as a basic primer on the key events, notable cultural contributions, and major figures of Korean history.

Grade Level: adaptable between grades 6-12 with modifications and extensions

Length of Time: Each lesson takes one 50 minute class period

Objectives: Students will be able to discuss and evaluate the significance of the key events, notable cultural contributions, and major figures of Korean history. Students will be able to discuss and evaluate the significance of the key events, notable cultural contributions, and major figures of Korean history.  Students will be able to examine and evaluate related concepts from the history of Korea and from their own nation through extended research prompts included within the lessons.

Standards Reference:

  • Middle School: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.1, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.10.
  • High School: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.2, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.4, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.8

Teacher Background Information: In ancient history, Korea was divided into three kingdoms, the Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla.  These were unified by the Silla kingdom in the late seventh century.  The Silla became the first of three royal dynasties in Korean history, later followed by the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties.

Procedures: Assign text before or during class.  Preview the numbered prompts at the end of each text.  Select the prompt or prompts that is most appropriate to your time, grade level, or objective, allowing appropriate time for students to complete prompt to your expectations.

Enduring Understandings: Students who complete this unit will develop a basic understanding and appreciation of the key events, notable cultural contributions, and major figures of Korean history.  They will be provided with opportunities to reflect on points of view foreign and alternative to their own, and to consider the world and their place in it.

Modifications and Extensions: This unit is broken into four media rich texts, each of which should take approximately one class period for students to process.  These are completely modular – they can be taught consecutively in cooperation with each other or as standalone units.  The texts are accompanied by three to four prompts which are designed to function according to a teacher’s need.  Most can serve alternatively as discussion or short answer questions, essay prompts, or departure points for further research into Korean history, or the basis of full on student projects.

Sources: In accordance with the philosophy that every student deserves a free, high quality education – and therefore educational materials should be free.  Every effort has been made to use open-sourced text and media as the basis of these lessons.  Sources are typically hyperlinked with each text, allowing students the opportunity to extend their own reading beyond the specifically assigned text.  Special thanks to the Foreign Policy Research Institute for the exceptional opportunity to conduct original research for these lessons on location in South Korea.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s