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Learning objects Cracking the code: Chinese character catalogue


Explore the structure of more than 2000 Chinese characters via an interactive library. Browse subject categories to find out how character components are combined to form different characters. Investigate relationships of form, sound and meaning between characters which use the same component. For example, notice that the character for 'autumn' is formed by components which mean 'grain' and 'fire'. Use interactive links to move from a radical in one character to a list of all characters using that radical. Search for specific characters via pinyin, number of strokes or meaning.

Educational details

Key learning objectives
  • Students or teachers analyse Chinese characters by breaking down compound characters into basic components.
  • Students or teachers analyse Chinese characters using lists of characters which share common components.
  • Students or teachers analyse the relationships between form, sound and meaning in Chinese characters.
  • Students or teachers develop pre-literacy skills for character-based writing systems by focusing on the structure of Chinese characters.
Educational value
  • Contains structure, sound, meaning and word usage data for more than 2000 Chinese characters, including all characters on the senior syllabuses of New Zealand and of Australian states and territories.
  • Uses animations and interactive links to show how characters are constructed from basic components.
  • Encourages free exploration of character components and character structure.
  • Promotes correct pronunciation by including an audio file for each character.
  • Allows searching via stroke order, meaning and pinyin.
  • Provides a component index of 188 basic characters, arranged in categories according to meaning.
  • Provides examples of modern word usage for components which are part of modern Chinese.
  • Includes traditional and simplified variants for some Chinese characters.
  • Includes an option to print from character analysis pages.
Year level

5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12

Learning area
  • languages other than english
  • Languages/Understanding language
    • Knowledge;
    • Comprehension;
    • Application;
    • Analysis
    Student activity
    • Interactives;
    • Analysis;
    • Modelling;
    • Comprehension activity
    Learning design
    • Experiential learning;
    • Independent learning;
    • Problem solving;
    • Visual learning

    Other details

    • Technical implementer
    • Script writer
    • Editor
    • Name: Toni Chen
    • Organisation: Toni Chen Translation Services
    • Address: Adelaide SA 5005 Australia
    • Publisher
    • Date of contribution: 20 Sep 2013
    • Organisation: Education Services Australia
    • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
    • URL:
    • Subject matter expert
    Learning resource type
    • Interactive Resource
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer - minimum version: 8.0 (MS-Windows) - maximum version: 9.0 (MS-Windows)
    • Firefox - minimum version: (MS-Windows)
    • Safari - minimum version: 5.1 (MacOS)
    Operating systems
    • MacOS - minimum version: 10.6
    • MS-Windows - minimum version: XP - maximum version: 7
    Platform requirements
    • The online content is available only to users located within Australia or New Zealand. Load time may exceed 10 seconds on a dedicated 64kbps connection or higher, due to the use of rich media content.
    • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.