Oracle Bones, er . . . Eggs Lesson Plan

The ancient Chinese used turtle shells to predict their future. However, turtle shells were not an opotion in my classroom. But, I never let that stop me. So, instead of Oracle Bones, in my classroom I used Oracle Eggs. It's fun -- and just as important -- easy to do. In groups of three or four, use permanent markers to write Chinese characters on the shell of a hard boiled egg. There are enough symbols provided on the handout that each member of the group should be able to write one or two symbols. Probably not all of the symbols can be written on the egg easily, so group members must select the symbols most important to them. (Hint: also write the English translation underneath the Chinese symbol. It's very helpful when inspecting the cracked eggs.)

Toss the egg up in the air with a spinning motion and allow it to drop to the floor. Then, each group needs to investigate and translate the cracks. What does it mean if an area has a major crack? or no crack at all? The answer to that is in the hands of the members of the group. And, they will have a lot of fun sharing their prophecies with the class.

I created this lesson when I lived in the Philippines. Yep, it's my original lesson and I'm very proud of that. I told my students just how special they were to me so over the weekend I went to China to get these special Oracle Eggs. Sixth graders never really knew if they should believe that story or not. Then, I told the same story to teachers at a conference in Beijing. They, however, knew that I didn't get the eggs in China. I had white eggs that I boiled at home in the Philippines. I didn't know that in Beijing you can only buy brown eggs. Who knew? Now you do.

Continue on to the Activity Handout.