Dangun, 2333 BC

Today we had our second lesson on Korea as part of first grade history, and learned the myth of Dangun.

Dangun is the legendary founder of Korea and is celebrated on National Foundation Day, which is Oct. 3 every year. The legend says that Dangun established Choson (ancient Korea) in 2333 BC, establishing his capital at Pyeongyang.

For today’s lesson I read The Birth of Dangun by Edward B. Adams. We found this book as part of a set of picture books on Korean history at a local Korean bookstore. Check your library. If you can’t find it, there are other options for teaching about Dangun, which I’ve listed below.

In addition to reading the story, I had my son mark the important locations in the story (Baektu Mountain, Ganghwa Island, Mani Mountain, Taedong River, and Pyeongyang, on a map of the Korean peninsula. And while I read he colored a sheet of Dangun’s grave, which I found here: www.handipoints.com/fun-facts/korean-holidays/national-foundation-day.html.

Another idea would be for your child to draw his favorite part of the story. Or use stuffed animals to act out the story after hearing it.

Here are some resources you can use if you can’t find a book on Dangun. The Korea Society has lesson plans that can be used to teach Dangun. You’ll find them under Folktales of the K-12 Resources section of the Publications drop-down menu. There are at least two lessons here on Dangun. “Exploring Korea’s Creation Myth,” the lesson for 6th-8th graders has a scripted play of the myth, which could be read if you don’t have another written version of the story to go over.  You can find the PDF lesson for download a: www.koreasociety.org/102_k-12_teachers/103_by_subject_area/118_folktales/view_category.html

The Office of Language and Cultural Education of the Chicago Public Schools also has lesson plans you could use. Chapter 1, Lesson 6 is the story of Dangun, including the story. You can download these PDFs at www.olce.org/publications.html

Additionally you might want to visit the following two sites. Both have photos of Dangun’s grave, which is located in North Korea.

http://koreanhistory.info/tangun.htm

http://www.san-shin.org/Dan-gun_Tomb-postcards.html

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