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):
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

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  • Analyze a historical document.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.

MA2019 (2019)
Grade: 2
17. Measure the length of an object by selecting and using standard units of measurement shown on rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, or measuring tapes.
Unpacked Content
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • choose appropriate tools and units of measurement based on size of object.
  • measure objects correctly.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Standard units of measurement
Students know:
  • standard units of length measure (inches, feet, yards, centimeters and meters) and the related tools.
Students are able to:
  • measure length in standard units (inches, feet, yards, centimeters and meters).
  • choose and accurately use appropriate measurement tools and units of measure.
Students understand that:
  • without overlaps or gaps.
  • the length of the object is expressed as the number of unit lengths needed to cover the same distance.
Diverse Learning Needs:
Essential Skills:
Learning Objectives:
M.2.17.1: Identify units of measurement for length.
Examples: inches, feet, yard; centimeter, meters.
M.2.17.2: Demonstrate how to use measurement tools.
Example: avoiding gaps and overlaps.
M.2.17.3: Identify measurement tools.
M.2.17.4: Model measuring using non-standard units.
M.2.17.5: Order three objects by length.
M.2.17.6: Compare the lengths of two objects indirectly by using a third object.
M.2.17.7: Describe measurable attributes of objects such as length or weight.

Prior Knowledge Skills:
  • Define more, less, length, width, weight and height.
  • Identify objects by length and height.
    Examples: shortest pencil, heaviest rock.
  • Identify objects by length.
    Examples: shortest pencil, heaviest rock.
  • Sort objects according to measurable attributes.
  • Sort objects according to non-measurable attributes.
  • Use comparative language (longer/shorter, taller/shorter) for the attributes of objects related to length.
  • Communicate long, tall, short.
  • Recognize the length attributes of objects (long/short, tall/short).
  • Recognize length as the measurement of something from end to end.
  • Understanding concepts of small, big, tall, short.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
M.AAS.2.17 Using vocalization, sign language, augmentative communication, or assistive technology, identify standard tools associated with measurement (clock, ruler, scale, measuring cup); measure the lengths of objects using nonstandard units (e.g., hands, paper clips).

MA2019 (2019)
Grade: 2
22. Create a number line diagram using whole numbers and use it to represent whole-number sums and differences within 100.
Unpacked Content
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • create number line(s) with equally spaced points and a scale of one.
  • represent the quantities as lengths from 0.
  • explain and justify the solutions using representations on number lines (may include open number lines).
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Number line
  • Whole numbers
  • Sum
  • Difference
Students know:
  • how to create a number line.
  • how to count forwards and backwards on a number line.
  • how to use addition and subtraction to solve equations using the number line.
Students are able to:
  • represent quantities and addition/subtraction on number line diagrams.
  • create and use number line models to represent, solve, and justify solutions to addition and subtraction problems within 100.
Students understand that:
  • quantities can be represented as distances from zero on a number line.
  • a variety of models, including number lines, can be used to represent and solve addition and subtraction problems.
Diverse Learning Needs:
Essential Skills:
Learning Objectives:
M.2.22.1: Recognize that each successive number name refers to a quantity that is one larger; and each previous number name refers to a quantity that is one less.
M.2.22.2: Use a number line to add and subtract within 10.
M.2.22.3: Write numerals 0 to 100.
M.2.22.4: Trace numerals 0 to 100.

Prior Knowledge Skills:
  • Represent addition and subtraction with objects, pictures, fingers, or sounds within twenty.
  • Understand addition as putting together and subtraction as taking from.
  • Establish one-to-one correspondence between numbers and objects.
  • Rote count to 25.
  • Notice same/different and some/all.
  • Point to matching or similar objects.
  • Add and subtract numbers within 20 using objects, pictures and fingers.
  • Pair "taking away" with subtraction.
  • Take a smaller set out of a larger set.
  • Pair putting together with adding.
  • Combine two sets to make a larger set up to twenty.
  • Count items in a set up to twenty.
  • Using counting, find one less than a number 2 through 20.
  • Using counting, find one more than a number 1 through 20.
  • Understand +, -, = and what they represent.
  • Count forward to 50 by tens.
  • Count backwards from 50 by tens.
  • Mimic counting to 50 by tens.
  • Trace numerals 0- 50.
  • Mimic creating a number line with equally spaced points from 0 to 20.

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
M.AAS.2.22 Represent whole-number sums within 20 using a number line.

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.