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Timeline Construction

Lesson Details

Subjects: Math, Social Studies, Art/Music, Career/Technology
Learning Level: High School
Author(s): Ellen Fairbairn and Heidi Olivé
Submitted by:


To better understand the course of events in the unit on World War I, the students must have a frame of reference. A timeline on the cause and effect relationships is essential in illustrating the alliance networks on both sides in this conflict. (Slides 5 and 6 will list the major events leading up to and during the Great War.) Instructors may opt to add additional dates.

Lesson fundamental understandings:
Essential Questions:

Students will understand:
What causal relationships were there in the web of alliances prior to 1914 that led to World War I? Could the chain of events that unfolded have been changed at any point? (Example: Italy did not honor its alliance to the Central Powers; what options did each nation have and how might this affect the outcome of events after Archduke Francis Ferdinand's assassination?)
Essential Questions:
1. How do alliances determine the extent of warfare?
2. How do familial ties (royal families) contribute to warfare in much of European history, including World war I?


National Standards

History STANDARD 1 : The student thinks chronologically: E. Interpret data presented in time lines and create time lines by designating appropriate equidistant intervals of time and recording events according to the temporal order in which they occurred. F. Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration in which historical developments have unfolded, and apply them to explain historical continuity and change. STANDARD 2 The student thinks chronologically: Era 7 Standard 2B: The student understands the causes of World War I and why the United States intervened.

State Standards

U.S. History Standard 1.0: Chronology: Students use chronology to organize and understand the sequence and relationship of events. U.S. History 1.12.2 Explain the sequence and relationship of events on a tiered time lines. U.S. History 2.12.2 Integrate, analyze, and or-ganize historical information from a variety of sources. U.S. History Standard 2.12.3 Analyze and interpret historical content from informational tools, including: · charts · diagrams · graphs · maps · political cartoons · photographs · tables U.S. History Standard 7.0: 1860 to 1920: Students understand the importance and impact of political, economic, and social ideas. U.S. History 7.12.17: Describe the causes, course, character, and effects of World War I, including: · imperialism · arms race and alliances · nationalism · weapons/tactics · Fourteen Points · Treaty of Versailles History 7.12.18 Describe the causes and effects of the Russian Revolution. · Romanovs · Lenin · Bolsheviks · Russian Civil War History 7.12.18 Describe the causes and effects of the Russian Revolution. · Romanovs · Lenin · Bolsheviks · Russian Civil War Math Standard: Measurement Content Standard 3.0: To solve problems, communicate, reason and make connections within and beyond the field of mathematics, students will use appropriate tools and techniques of measurement to determine, estimate, record, and verify direct and indirect measurements. Math Standard 3.4.2: Measure and compare length in inches, feet, yards, and miles to the closest fractional part (1/4, 1/2); convert within this system.


Prerequisite Skills

This is lesson #2 of 6. Students need appropriate math skills for spacing events on a linear graph. Reading at grade level (6-12)is required for finding additional information on the months in which particular events occurred. Students also need the ability of sequencing to place events at the appropriate intervals on the timeline. Students are strongly encouraged to use color coding ,graphic insertions, as well as primary resource pictures (required), to make the project more readable and student relevant.

Teacher Information/Situations/Setting/Time

Time- Students will be given one class period (approximately 50 minutes)to complete the activity. If additonal time is needed students will need to complete the project as a homework assignment. (Please note: A timeline of 10 years,with appropriate graphics,15 primary resource pictures from the Internet, along with picture annotation,takes approximately 4 1/2 hours to complete).
Setting: Regular classroom or a computer lab (Options for each are included in this lesson.)


Using the following suggested rubric teachers can assess the timeline:
Total points: 150
Followed directions 10%= 15 points
Timing (on time) 20%= 30 points
Creative 10%= 15 points
Annotation 20%= 30 points
Accurate 10%= 15 points
Pictures (at least 10) 30%= 45 points
*Award points based on accuracy, use of all pertinent events, neatness and organization. Sequencing needs to be very appparent and labeling should be very neat.

Student Activity/Tasks

Provide student directions for the timeline activity as well as a grading rubric to ensure maximum effort by all students.
Have students construct a timeline using either a computer-generated graph with labeling/graphics included or supply student with posterboard 14 x 28. Encourage spacing (each date should be placed 2" apart, allowing space for the graphic or picture and appropriate annotation), straight lines, color coding and graphics/picture boxes to promote a well-planned project.

Enrichment/Alternate Activity:

The following enrichment activities have been field tested and found to provide deeper meaning and connection to various societal issues occurring during this time period: Students can add supplemental information to their projects by: 1. Choosing a notable historical figure from the future and listing a few events in that person's life during the years, 1914-1917. Examples: Babe Ruth, Louis Armstrong, Josephine Baker, Jane Addams, etc. 2. Contributing social history events with pictures/graphics pertinent to it in the timeline. Examples: popular music/songs of the period; popular recreational activities, etc.


Art English/Language Arts Integration of Technology Math

Technology Requirements/Tools/Materials

Two Options:

Option 1:
Computer lab with one computer per student. Suggested software: Microsoft Word, Appleworks, HyperStudio.
Option 2:
Classroom setting: White 14 x 28 posterboard (one per student), colored pencils, magic markers, gel pens, rulers, scissors,glue, historical pictures from periodicals,computer encyclopedias,students text (copy pictures with xerox machine), or off the Internet; 1 computer classrooms are ideal for this.


Typical sources for historical pictures:
Microsoft Encarta or any other reference-type software.

Internet sources:
www.nara.gov - go to the digital classroom section and seek out information by key word or date
American Memory Collection

Additional Resources

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Related Lessons

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Career Connection to Teaching with Technology
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