The Chinese New Year starts today.
Today is the first day of the New Year on the Chinese lunar calendar. Each year of the calendar's 12-year cycle is represented by an animal. According to the Chinese zodiac, people born during a given year share traits with that animal. 2021 is the Year of the Ox. Those born in the Year of the Ox are known to be honest with strong devotion to work.
Introduce students to the Chinese New Year by having them explore the Chinese zodiac. Begin the activity by having each student write five to eight adjectives or phrases that describe his or her personality traits. These should not be physical characteristics like hair color or height, but qualities such as "a good sense of humor," "honest," or "a risk-taker."
Then, have students look at the Chinese zodiac to find a description of the attibutes people would have if they were born in the same year they were. For younger students, try the Chinese Calendar, and for older students, try Chinese Horoscopes.
Once students have read their animal's attributes, have them explain how the animal does or does not seem to represent them. They should use specific examples from their own experiences to support what they say. For example, if the zodiac says that they have difficulty with authority, students should write about a time when they resisted (or did not resist) an authority figure.
Next, students can look through the other animal signs to see which one best represents them and write a persuasive piece describing why that sign fits them best.
This site offers information about the tradition and customs associated with Chinese New Year celebrations. Related links provide information on the Chinese zodiac and a Chinese New Year quiz.
This Activity Village site offers printable posters, worksheets, puzzles, and cards to help students learn about the traditions of the Chinese New Year.
This quest resource provides kid-friendly information on the background and traditions of Chinese New Year. It includes information on activities leading up to and immediately following the New Year's Day.
This activity from National Geographic allows students to find their birth year animals and their related characteristics.