ALEX Lesson Plan


Time After Time: How Can We Use Timelines to Reconstruct the Past? Part 3

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Carol McLaughlin
System: Hoover City
School: Greystone Elementary School
Author:Amanda Walker
System: Hoover City
School: Bluff Park Elementary School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 35472


Time After Time: How Can We Use Timelines to Reconstruct the Past? Part 3


The lesson will focus on creating a timeline. The teacher and students will work together to collect data from teachers around the school. Using this data, students will work to complete a class timeline and formulate questions to ask others about their completed timeline. This lesson will require four 30-45 minute sessions to complete.

This unit was created as part of the ALEX Interdisciplinary Resource Development Summit.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
MA2015 (2016)
Grade: 2
14 ) Measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes. [2-MD1]

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
4M1e: Select or use appropriate measurement instruments such as ruler, meter stick, clock, thermometer, or other scaled instruments.

NAEP Statement::
4M2a: Select or use an appropriate type of unit for the attribute being measured such as length, time, or temperature.

NAEP Statement::
8M1e: Select or use appropriate measurement instrument to determine or create a given length, area, volume, angle, weight, or mass.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
M.AAS.2.14- Identify standard tools associated with measurement (clock, ruler, scale, measuring cup); measure the lengths of objects using nonstandard units (e.g., hands, paper clips).

MA2015 (2016)
Grade: 2
19 ) Represent whole numbers as lengths from 0 on a number line diagram with equally spaced points corresponding to the numbers 0, 1, 2, ..., and represent whole-number sums and differences within 100 on a number line diagram. [2-MD6]

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
4NPO1b: Represent numbers using models such as base 10 representations, number lines, and two-dimensional models.

NAEP Statement::
4NPO1e: Connect model, number word, or number using various models and representations for whole numbers, fractions, and decimals.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
M.AAS.2.19- Represent whole-number sums within 20 using a number line.

English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 2
12 ) Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text. [RI.2.3]

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
ELA.AAS.2.12- Identify events or steps in a historical, scientific, or technical text.

English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 2
28 ) Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question. [W.2.8]

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
ELA.AAS.2.28- Recall experiences to answer a question.

Social Studies
SS2010 (2010)
Grade: 2
Living and Working Together in State and Nation
3 ) Use various primary sources, including calendars and timelines, for reconstructing the past.

Examples: historical letters, stories, interviews with elders, photographs, maps, artifacts

Insight Unpacked Content
Strand: History
Course Title: Living and Working Together in State and Nation
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Reconstruct a past event using various primary sources, including calendars and timelines.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • primary sources
  • calendars
  • timelines
  • reconstructing
  • past
Students know:
  • How to use a calendar.
  • How to interpret a timeline.
  • Vocabulary: primary sources, calendar, timeline, past, historical letter, artifacts
Students are able to:
  • Read a calendar.
  • Create and use a timeline.
  • Analyze a historical document.
  • Utilize maps, photographs, and other visual historic resources.
Students understand that:
  • Primary sources play an important role in reconstructing the past.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SS.AAS.2.3- Use various primary sources, including calendars and timelines, for reconstructing the past.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

  • Students will observe and analyze timelines.

  • Student will analyze and order events and times.

  • Students will process data and report results.

  • Students will create a timeline.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

91 to 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Student/Teacher Materials:

  • Paper

  • Pencils

  • Post-It notes

  • School map

  • Google Docs

  • Printer

  • Sharpies

  • Glue

  • Bulletin Board Paper

  • Earmuffs for Everyone by Meghan McCarthy (Acceleration book)

  • Exit Ticket:

Timeline Rubric:

Technology Resources Needed:

Tablets with a camera or a digital camera (to take pictures for the timeline)


Prior to teaching this lesson, students need to understand basic calendar skills such as order of the days of the week and months of the year.  Students will need some basic measuring skills.  The teacher will need to email other teachers in the building to let them know of projects.  The teacher will want to let other teachers know that students are going to be surveying teachers and asking what year that they started teaching at your school.  


Before Strategy/Engage: 10 minutes

TW= Teacher will

SW=Student will

  1. TW review Standard SS3: Use various primary sources, including calendars and timelines, for reconstructing the past.  Examples: historical letters, stories, interviews with elders, photographs, maps, artifacts.  
  2. TW review previous lessons. (Time after Time lessons 1 & 2)
  3. TW state “I wonder when each teacher started teaching at ___________?  If we wanted to make a timeline, what would we need to do?”  Insert your school name into the blank.  (see picture of completed timeline at the end of lesson)

1st 30-45 minute time period

  1. TW/SW develop a list of steps to complete a timeline.
  2. TW/SW start compiling a list of all teachers within the school on sticky notes. TW/SW organize or group the teachers by hallway or grade level to make data collection efficient. Students may reference a school map or directory to ensure all teachers/staff are included.  

2nd 20-45 minute period of time

  1. A few days prior to the lesson, TW will email the school to make teachers aware of the timeline project and that students will be coming to interview and that the interview will only last about 2 minutes.
  2. TW assign students to a group of teacher/staff.
  3. TW/SW generate the survey they will ask each teacher.  Example “Hi We’re from Ms. _________’s class and we are working on a timeline project.  Can we ask you one question and take your picture?  You get to approve the picture before we leave.”  
  4. SW practice speaking skills with the question before leaving to interview teachers.  
  5. TW send out student pairs/teams to interview 2-3 teachers. Tip/Idea: If there is a station or center time, this may be a good time to send pairs out for the short interviews. SW visit 2-3 teachers, so they will return by the next rotation.  
  6. TW/SW look at data collected.
  7. TW/SW make notes of what teachers still need to be interviewed if not completed in one day.  

3rd Period of 30-45 minutes of time

  1. Before the lesson, TW print pictures students captured of teachers around the school.  Pictures should be about 2” X 2”.
  2. SW complete interviews for any teachers still needed for the timeline.
  3. SW type teacher names and years teachers’ worked into google docs or a word processing document.
  4. SW cut out names and years teachers’ worked to adhere to picture.  
  5. SW compare years and work to organize data collected into years .
  6. SW work together to determine a desired length and spacing for timeline.  (5-6 inches works well with the picture size.)
  7. TW/SW work together to determine what total length the timeline would need to be.
  8. TW/SW draw the timeline on a long strip of bulletin board paper.  TW/SW measure off 5-6 inches for each year.  
  9. SW paste pictures on timeline.  
  10. TW ask students, "What can we learn from this timeline? Did it match what you thought you would learn?  What else can you learn?"
  11. TW/SW work together to create a list of questions to ask others about the timeline to display in the hallway for others.

 After/Explain, Elaborate:

  1. After all tasks have been completed,  SW complete exit ticket.
  2. TW/SW revisit standard, reflect, and discuss what was discovered.

Example of a completed timeline: 

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Assessment Strategies

Formative Assessment

TW informally assess students during the group activities, whole class discussions, and while working on the class timeline. TW check the timeline for understanding: finding dates/events, ordering dates on the timeline, writing events with dates, measuring equal distances between dates/events using this rubric:

TW use completed exit ticket ( to assess student knowledge of timelines.


Students that need to expand on their understanding, can create a timeline featuring the famous Americans from the group according to their birthdates.  They can create this digitally or on paper.  This timeline can be shared with the group to deepen understanding on the past as it is related to the featured famous Americans.  

Students could also create a timeline about the invention of earmuffs by using the book Earmuffs for Everyone. This book tells the story of the invention of earmuffs over time. The dates are included in the illustrations. Students can use these dates to create a timeline titled The Invention of Earmuffs and explain how earmuffs have evolved to our modern day version.


If there are students that require additional help with understanding number order (years in timeline), they should be pulled in a small group to practice number order with the teacher prior to the group activity.

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.