ALEX Lesson Plan


Time After Time: How Can We Use Timelines to Reconstruct the Past? Part 4

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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: 35473


Time After Time: How Can We Use Timelines to Reconstruct the Past? Part 4


This lesson will focus on creating timelines. Students will use important dates from their lives to create a personal 5 event timeline. Students will use rulers to measure equal spaces for their timelines. This lesson will require two 1 hour sessions. The first lesson will include the lesson introduction, work on timelines and time for formative assessments as students work. The second session will be used to complete timelines, share projects, and complete exit tickets.

Sample of completed timeline:



Video sample of completed timeline:


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 create and analyze timelines.
  • Student will analyze and order events and times.
  • Students will use rulers to measure equal spaces to create timelines.
  • Students will be able to correctly write a date (month, day, year).

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

91 to 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Teacher/Student Materials:

  • Paper

  • Pencils

  • Google Docs

  • Printer

  • Sharpies

  • Glue

  • 12 x 18 pieces of construction paper or bulletin board paper

  • Blank Copy Paper

  • Small sticky labels for dates or cut small pieces of paper to label pictures

  • Exit Ticket:

  • Timeline Rubric:

  • Parent Letter for pictures:

  • Optional: iPad and Green Screen app if the teacher wants students to complete a video presentation of the timeline.



Technology Resources Needed:

Optional: iPads and Green Screen app (if students create video presentations of timeline)

Google Drive or other word processor- If headers are made for timelines


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.  Several weeks before this lesson, the teacher will need to email parents to ask for printed pictures and complete this form:


Before/Engage: (5 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 tell students that they will be creating a timeline of their life.  TW show students a model example of the timeline movie:


1st Session- (1 hour)

  1. After watching the timeline video, TW explain the steps to complete personal timelines.  TW also display timeline rubric:

  2. TW/SW begin by measuring the length of the construction paper (18 inches). TW/SW discuss how far they need to space the events/pictures on the timeline so that the 5 events are spaced evenly.  TW lead the students to think about how many fives are in 18. (measure 3 inches to each event) TW demonstrate how draw a line across the middle of the construction paper. Then TW model how to use a ruler to measure every 3 inches and also how to move the ruler to continue measuring when the ruler ends for the last 3 inches.

  3. SW will first draw a line across the middle or their construction paper with a pencil and then use rulers to measure every 3 inches. SW will use sharpies to draw over the lines to make them bold.

  4. SW will use their timeline form from home and organize their pictures from birth to 2nd grade. TW check each student’s timeline to ensure the events are in order. The teacher may have to help students crop pictures to fit.

  5. If the events are in order, SW glue pictures on their timelines. TW distribute small sticky labels or pieces of paper so that students may label each picture with the event date.

  6. After labeling the date, SW write a sentence or two about the event or picture.

  7. TW/SW edit each sentence to check for capital letters, punctuation, and spelling.

2nd session: (1 hour)

  1. If there are any students that have not completed their timelines, allow time for students to complete them at the beginning of this lesson or at a time outside of this lesson.

  2. TW distribute timeline rubric:  and SW check their timelines using the rubric.

  3. The teacher can choose to leave it at a paper copy of the timeline or have each student complete a video of his/her timeline using a green screen app and iPad. See examples of paper and video timelines in the student materials section.

  4. TW/SW share personal timelines with the class.


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


Assessment Strategies

Formative Assessment

TW informally assess students during their work on individual timelines to check for understanding: finding dates/events, ordering dates on the timeline, writing events with dates, and 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 their knowledge can create timelines of other famous people (eg.: historical figures, famous Alabamians, presidents).


If there are students that require additional help with understanding number order (years in a 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.