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Royal Geographical Society (with IBG): the heart of geography
Developing Primary Geography
United Kingdom
Hong Kong
United States of America
Map skills
Global trade
Mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes
Exploring Shackleton's Antarctica
The Mediterranean
Subject knowledge animation: Shackleton
Subject knowledge animation: Map skills
Subject knowledge animation: Mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes
Subject knowledge animation: Key Stage Two geography
Using the Societys collections to develop cross curricular links
Mount Everest and its ascent
Antarctica - Extreme wilderness
Kenya - A changing nation
China - Snapshots in Time
India - Pictures of the Past
Lesson plans and ideas

China - Snapshots in Time

China is a country that is rarely out of the headlines, whether for its rapid industrial growth, its politics or more recently the advent of the Beijing Olympics. The images we see are of a country rich in history and culture, with a diverse range of peoples and environments within its extensive borders. Being the third largest country in the world and home to approximately one fifth of the world's population, it has long sparked the imagination of many a traveller.

The country has been traversed by emperors, kings and generals throughout history due to its critical position in the heart of the continent of Asia and is consequently home to a variety of peoples from the Han Chinese to Tibetans and Mongols, with most people speaking Mandarin or standard Chinese.

Key questions

  • Where in the world is China?
  • Discover the importance of the Yangtze River
  • Why is there a historical collection of photographs at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)?
  • Who was Isabella Bird Bishop?
  • What was the Cultural Revolution and what impact did it have on the people?
  • What are the views of the Chinese community in London? 


These factsheets provide background information to each of the key questions. They can be used together with the associated downloadable activities to investigate each area.


Find out more about the images in the gallery above PDF | MSWORD

Online activities

Want to see photographs of the Great Wall of China? Have a look at the interactive presentation.

Downloadable resources

The downloadable activities used with the associated factsheets can be used in the classroom to investigate each area.

An education pack exploring China's past and its human and physical geography has recently been developed. The pack entitled 'Seeing China: Snapshots of the past and present' contains activities for students from the ages of eight to 12 and can be downloaded in sections here:

The Society's exhibition 'Seeing China - Community Reflection' is available to hire.


This theme was developed with support from King's Cross Neighbourhood Centre, Soho Family Centre and Camden Chinese Community Centre in London. Workshops were conducted with these groups exploring some of the themes raised within these resources.

Supported by:

Heritage Lottery Fund Esmee Fairbairn Foundation John Lyon's Charity

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