Thursday, July 21, 2011

Using Timelines Across Content Areas

As a former social studies teacher, I had a tendency to primarily use timelines to sequence major events we were studying in class. I've always wanted to use timelines across different subjects areas but, often found myself lacking time and resources to find other uses for them in the classroom.

I've been reading Steve Johnson's, Digital Tools for Teaching, and have been highly impressed with his style and all the great resources he shares with his readers. I turned to Steve's book and other classroom teachers searching for ideas on how timelines can be used across content areas. Here are some ideas that were shared...

Science teachers can have students...
- create a timeline of the deadliest instances of different types of extreme weather (Ex: all Category Five hurricanes, tsunamis, etc. over the last 50 years)
- review the cycle of a butterfly
- chart out a scientific discovery (Ex: development of solar energy, stem cell research, etc.)

Social Studies teachers can have students...
- track current events as they occur overtime (Ex: Arab uprisings)
- map the journey of a major explorer in a timeline
- track and invention and the impact it has/had on society

English/Language Arts teachers can have students...
- sequence the main events of a novel
- identify the emotions of a protagonist
- map out the writing process
- conduct an author study and share their findings in a timeline format

Math teachers can have students...
- compare and order units of length from smallest to largest
- review the order of operations
- explore timelines they are interested in and analyze them mathematically(What are the average number of days between each event? What percent/fraction of events includes a picture? If you were 34 years old when the second timeline event occurred, how old would you be by the last event?)
- create a timeline to solve word problems (see example below)
Timelines & Word Problems
View more documents from Siddharth Nath

What about interactive timelines?
There are several popular timeline creators students can use to create their timelines. One popular timeline creator is Timetoast. In Steve Johnson's Teacher Tech Videos, you'll find great video tutorials on timeline creators and Timetoast. Whether you are a technology newbie or an advanced user, his Teacher Tech Videos provide tips that anyone can use and apply. For more great resources and ideas from Steve, check out his website and blog.
Image from


Anonymous said... is also a good timeline creation tool

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