Lesson video

In progress...


Hello, and welcome to history.

I'm Mr. Hutchinson, and we've been learning all about the Shang Dynasty.

In today's lesson we're going to be looking at some of the great accomplishments at the Shang Dynasty.

Now we've already taken a look at some of the great achievements of the Shang people over the 500 years that they existed.

And today we're going to have a chance to take a closer look at some of those.

So in our lesson, we'll recap, first of all, the things that we've already learned that the Shang managed to achieve.

Then we'll look at one of the accomplishments that we didn't study before.

And that's called a stratified government.

My turn, your turn, stratified government.

New words, how exciting.

I'm going to explain exactly what they mean later in the lesson.

We'll then learn a bit about the lasting legacy.

So what was left from the Shang Dynasty? What continued even after the Shang Dynasty ended? And finally, we'll finish with our end of lesson quiz as usual.

So let's begin with a recap.

I'd like you to write down everything that you can remember that the Shang Dynasty achieved.


So you're going to have about one minute.

You can actually pause the video, set a timer for one minute and write down everything that you can remember in terms of what the Shang Dynasty, the accomplishments, the amazing things that they achieved.

Pause the video and write down everything you can remember now.

Great work.

Hopefully you were able to remember quite a lot.

Don't worry if you can't, that's why we're recapping.

So one of the things that you might remember is that the Shang were one of the first civilizations who were writing and the earliest Chinese writing that we have evidence of.

Well done if you remember that.

The Shang Dynasty also made amazing weaponry and different things to use in warfare.

New inventions that gave him a huge advantage in battle like these chariots, these platforms that would carry them along at great speed during battles.

The Shang were amazing at working with bronze, melting down that metal moulding it and creating beautiful, but also very useful artefacts.

That wasn't all that they did though.

They were also amazing astronomers.

They looked up at the night sky and they mapped the stars and they tracked them over months and years.

And they learned the phases of the moons.

There were amazing astronomers.

They also were great craftspeople in terms of crafting a stone called Jade and made beautiful statues and pendants and jewellery and all sorts of other items out of Jade.

And one that we didn't look at that we'll focus on today is government.

So government is a system that is used to rule people, and it's usually lots of different people who are organised to help rule a country or an empire, like the Shang Dynasty.

So, first of all, let's just recap some of these main accomplishments before we take a closer look at the Shang government.

So if this statement is true, I want you to write it down.

If it's not true, then don't write it down.

Again, there's going to be a few different statements.

There are the rules.

If it's true, you'd write it down.

If it's not true, just don't write it down.

So the Shang Dynasty was the first civilization in ancient China to use writing.

It's true.

Pause the video and write it down.

If it's false, you can just leave the video running.

Well done.

If you paused the video and wrote down that statement, because that is true.

The Shang dynasty were the first civilization in ancient China to use writing.

Here's another one.

The Shang Dynasty were not able to craft items using bronze.

They didn't know how to make things with bronze.

If it's true, pause the video and write it down.

If it's false leave the video running.

Well done if you didn't write anything down, because that is false.

The Shang Dynasty were great at making things out of bronze.

Here's another one for you.

The Shang Dynasty was skilled warriors and built advanced weapons.

Is that true? Or is that false? If it's true, pause the video, write it down.

If it's false leave the video running.

Well done if you paused the video and wrote that down, because that is true as well.

Awesome work.

So now we're going to take a closer look at one of the accomplishments and something that lasted after the Shang Dynasty ended.

And that was the idea of stratified governments.

We've already said, government is just the system.

The people that move in a particular place, govern, look after, rule.

And stratify just means that there's different levels or layers, lots of different levels or layers.

So a stratified government is a way of ruling with different layers of people who have different jobs.

And the Shang Dynasty were one of the first civilizations to have this different levelled system of ruling the people.

So you might already know about stratified government, about different levels of ruling or being in charge of, or looking after somewhere.

So in your school, there will be a head teacher, the person that's in charge, one person who's in charge of the whole school.

But the head teacher, does the head teacher teach all of the lessons and go into all of the classrooms and sort out all of the problems. No, of course not because the head teacher is, has another level below them, maybe a deputy head teacher, or it could be an assistant head teacher.

So they have people who can do some of those jobs and look after some of those jobs.

So the head teacher tells the deputy head teacher what to do the deputy head teacher tells the assistant teacher what to do, and they'll also have their own jobs to do as well.

The assistant head teacher, they might be responsible for the teachers in the classroom.

So the teacher listens to that assistant head teacher who listens to the deputy head teacher who listens to the head teacher.

And this system of having different levels is a good way of making sure that you can have one really clear idea of what needs to happen set from the head teacher and different people that have different jobs and know what their jobs are.

And of course there are other people involved in a school as well.

There are the support staff.

There are the teaching assistants.

There are the people working in the kitchen, the chefs, there are the cleaners and there are the site managers who look after the building.

So all of these people are different levels and they all have their own different jobs.

There's actually also, you might not know this, but there's somebody above the head teacher.

Somebody tells the head teacher what to do.

And that's actually a group of people called governors.

And the governors are a group of people who are the ones that tell the head teacher what to do and make sure that the head teacher is doing their job correctly.

So if we put it into a sort of diagram, it might look like this.

Head teacher in charge.

They might have some assistant head teachers that have another level below.

Head teacher tells the assistant what to do.

And they look after the teachers and support the teachers.

And this different level, or stratified system is a really good way when you've got lots of people to look after, it's a good way of making sure that everything runs nice and smoothly.

Even when you've got lots of people, like in a huge empire, like the Shang Dynasty.

So having a look at that map, I wonder if you could make your own stratified map, different levels of your school, and you could put the people's names in.

And so you probably know the head teacher's name at your school.

At my school, the head teacher is called Ms. Brown.

So I would write Ms. Brown, where the head teacher is.

And then I know that there are assistant head teachers and I'm one of those assistant head teachers at my school.

So I would write Mr. Hutchinson below Ms. Brown.

Could you write a map, draw a map of all of the different people at your school and the level that they're at? Pause the video and do that now.

Great work.

It'd be really interesting to see that map and all the different maps around the different schools and how they have this level or stratified system, just like the Shang Dynasty had.

Because the Shang Dynasty had an emperor who was in charge.

And one of the things that the emperor in the Shang Dynasty made is this thing called a civil service, which is a group of people who are just their job, is to make sure that the empire or the nation or the country runs really smoothly.

And we have a civil service in England and in the United Kingdom now.

And the civil service help to run the country, to make sure that everybody is looked after and supported and the different jobs all get done.

So below the emperor, if you have a stratified map, the emperor might have been in charge of the generals and the army and the aristocrats, the aristocrats are the noble families.

So those people that own lots of lands.

And then of course the priests, religion very important in the Shang Dynasty.

Below that, the level below that in a stratified system, the priests should be in charge of the temples and the people in the temples, the aristocrats might be in charge of local governors.

So if you went to a local tribe, if you travelled out, if you travelled out from one of the major cities in the Shang Dynasty, to one of the more local areas, there will be somebody in charge there, a local governor, somebody that's in charge of the local area.

And they might report back to the aristocrats, the noble people who would then report back to the emperor.

And the generals would be in charge of the armies.

The armies would be in charge of the warriors.

The local governors might be in charge of different tribe chiefs.

And so we're getting the stratified system.

Below the tribe chiefs there are the traders and the artisans and the people that are making the things.

And the civil service is making sure that all of this runs nice and smoothly.

So if there's a change in Dynasty, if there's a big change, like when an empire ends, for example, because we know that the Shang Dynasty came to an end, the different groups of people in a stratified system will feel that differently, that change.

So how would the end of the Shang Dynasty, how would that change be for different people? What would the change be like for the emperor? Write down how the change of a change in empire would affect the emperor.

What about the generals in charge of the army? How would the empire collapsing affect that? What about the traders and the artisans? The artisans are the people that are making the things like those bronze work or the Jade statues.

And what about the peasants? We didn't look at those in our last stratified map, but the peasants are most people, the farmers, the people without much money, without much land.

How would things change for those people? Pause the video and write down how things would change for these different people if there was a fall in empire.

Once the Shang Dynasty ended, how would that affect all of those different groups? So you should write a sentence for each word, at least.

Pause the video and do that now.

Great work.

So for the emperor, things would be a big change for the emperor because the emperor wouldn't be in charge anymore.

Once the Shang Dynasty falls and new emperor is put in place the generals, once they've lost a battle, they probably wouldn't be trusted to be in charge.

They were just fighting against the new people who are coming in, the new emperor.

The Zhou Dynasty.

The traders artisans, however, things might be quite similar for those.

They still need to make the different things.

So even if a new empire comes in and new leaders, they still need things to be traded.

They still need bread to be made.

They still need bronze pots to be made.

They might be giving the trading with different people and they might be giving some money to different sorts of leaders, local leaders, and governors, but things will keep pretty much the same.

And for the peasants, they really might not notice because if they're in the fields, working in the farms, collecting all of the grain and things, well, they just carry on doing that.

You always need to farm the food and it works in the same way.

There are so many levels above them to get to the governors and the emperors, they might not even really to be able to tell the difference.

And so these big changes affect people in different ways.

So let's think now about how these different accomplishments of the Shang Dynasty left a lasting legacy.

So a legacy is something that continues even after the person or the people that started it have gone.

And to do that, we're going to answer this question.

We're going to ask why did some of the accomplishments of the Shang Dynasty last beyond the Shang Dynasty, even after the Shang Dynasty fell and the Zhou Dynasty came in, why did some of their accomplishments continue? So I've got some sentence starters for you here.

You might like to fill in these gaps.

The Shang Dynasty lasted from hmm to hmm when it was overthrown by the hmm Dynasty.

Although the line of leaders hmm, many of the accomplishments of the Shang hmm.

Can you write out that sentence or those two sentences? Sorry.

Filling in the gaps with the words that you think would match the best? Pause the video and have a go at that now.


We'll get to the answers in a moment because I'd like you to write a little bit more because we're talking about how things lasted.

So we know that it's the Shang Dynasty ended.

However, some things stayed the same.

For example, give an example of one of the accomplishments that might've continued even after the Shang Dynasty ended.

And can you say why, why would that accomplishment have continued? So pause the video.

You can choose any of the accomplishments that we've talked about and talk about why that might have continued.

Pause the video and write a few more sentences now.

Super work.

Let's see how you did.

I'm going to show you what I wrote for these answers.

And you can see if you had a similar idea.

So I wrote, oh, sorry.

If you didn't get it already, there are some key words there.

So in fact, you can pause the video.

And if you didn't put in those key words then you might want to add in those key words, now.

It's a good chance to do some improvement before I show you mine to kind of a quick redraft.

So you might have talked about the stratified government, astronomy or bronze work or weaponry or writing.

You might have already chosen one of those.

But if you think, oh, actually I'd like to add that idea in.

Then now you can pause the video and give that a go.

Now we're ready to check.

Now we're ready, you've got an even better answer.

So let's see how your answer compares to mine.

I wrote the Shang Dynasty lasted from 1600 BC to 1066 BC when it was overthrown by the Zhou Dynasty.

Although the line of leaders ended, the Shang leaders ended.

Many of the accomplishments of the Shang remained.

For example, people still made weaponry and other items out of bronze.

This is because the craftspeople have become very skilled in using bronze and the weapons and items would still be needed.

So we can see that the Shang Dynasty made amazing accomplishments.

And lots of those accomplishments continued even after the Shang Dynasty ended and a new group of leaders became in charge.

And that's how empires often work.

They have lasting legacies of the area and those legacies can be different for different people.

Even after the empire has fallen accomplishments and achievements remain.

That's the end of today's lesson and you've worked extremely hard and you've got some great ideas down and thinking really hard now how history feeds forward into the present and continues to influence the future, including a lot of the accomplishments and achievements.

And gosh, the Shang Dynasty had plenty.

So well done for working so hard.

And I'll see you next time.