The Voyages of Zheng He

Grades: 5-9 | Duration: 90 minutes

Explore the world of the Ming Dynasty with the massive armada of Zheng He. Students will learn the reasons behind the rise and fall of Chinese maritime exploration; contrast the Ming tribute system with European colonialism and evaluate the position of scholars, merchants, and eunuchs in traditional Chinese society. They will also use their creativity to plan a voyage of their very own!

Common Core State Standards

English Language Arts Standards

Speaking & Listening

  • 7.1c – Pose questions that elicit elaboration and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant observations and ideas that bring the discussion back on topic as needed.
  • 8.1c – Pose questions that connect the ideas of several speakers and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant evidence, observations, and ideas.

Reading: Informational Text

  • 6.7 – Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.


  • 5.3e – Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.
California State Board of Education

History-Social Science Content Standards for California Public Schools

  • 7.3 – Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the civilizations of China in the Middle Ages.
  • 7.3.4 – Understand the importance of both overland trade and maritime expeditions between China and other civilizations in the Mongol Ascendancy and Ming Dynasty.