Lesson 02 Chinese Fans

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We learned all about Chinese fans during this lesson and each student made their own Chinese fan to take home.  The word for fan in Chinese is 扇.  It is pronounced with the fourth tone “shàn” where the sound starts high and falls.  To start the lesson I tapped into the children’s prior knowledge by asking them to think about all the different types of fans.  Most students said it’s for you to use when the weather is hot.  One student said that you can use fans for dancing.  I then showed them some real Chinese fans used for decorating and painting.  Read on to see how busy the kids were during this class.

The Origin of Chinese Fans

Fans originated in China about 3,000 to 4,000 years ago. The original fans were used for sheltering from the sun and keeping off sands for emperors when they are outdoors. In fact, the fan was not used to help cool people until 2,000 years ago. At that time, fans were usually made of feathers and called “feather fan,” which was only popular among the noble class.  The Chinese character for “fan” (扇) is derived from a picture of feathers under a door/roof.  Fans have a long artistic culture and were valued not only for their functionality, but by their beauty. Fan painting and decoration are but one example of this.

Children practicing Chinese fan dancing!

Kids practicing another Chinese fan dancing move!

Alexia proudly shows what her creation of fan character looks like compared to the real character for fan.




We learned how to say and write the Chinese character for fan “扇“ pronounced “shàn” with the 4th tone going down.  Before we learned the real Chinese character 扇, I asked the students to use their imagination and create their own Chinese character for 扇.





Making the fan was a lot of work.  The children worked so hard and completed their fans!  On one side of the fan, the students decorated it with lotus flowers or other kinds of flowers.  On the other side, the children drew the character for fan, 扇, in Chinese.  See how hard these children are working!


Milo working on her Chinese fan

Kaya works hard to create her Chinese fan

Ananya works hard cutting pieces to decorate her fan


Penny holds the other side of her Chinese fan showing her written 扇

Check out the finished fans below!

Logan, Quinn, Tessa, and Leia proudly hold their finished fans

Simone, Franka, and Coco shows off their Chinese fans

Ava and Brooks made beautiful Chinese fans

Jude and Bodhi hold up their creations

Annabelle and Simone proudly holding their handmade Chinese fans


Chinese Fan Template


Click on the picture to download 3 pages of a Chinese fan making project.  I found this file recently in my files.  Enjoy!Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 10.02.02 AM



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