History Resource Cupboard – lessons and resources for schools

History Resource Cupboard - lessons and resources for schools

10. Were the Tang emperors to blame for the collapse of the dynasty in 907?

This lesson – the final one in the unit on Tang Dynasty China – explores the second-order concept of causation, focusing on the different reasons for the dynasty’s collapse in 907.

Students are first challenged to recall some of the earlier problems faced by the Tang emperors, before they develop their knowledge of the more decisive issues faced after 800 with a categorising activity.

Students consider the role played by challengers and rebels, problems in the countryside, and mistakes made by the emperors in bringing about the collapse of the dynasty.

They are challenged to do some tricky thinking about causation as they reflect on the extent to which the problems leading to the collapse of the dynasty were within the emperors’ control.

A boxing analogy helps them to collate evidence and eventually ‘deliver the knockout blow’. Ultimately, students are in a position to reach nuanced and well-supported conclusions, outlining their views in response to the enquiry question. 

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  • Lesson presentation: PowerPoint
  • Lesson write-up: PDF
  • Worksheet 1 & 2 : PDF

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