Creating a Timeline


Our Creating a Timeline lesson plan teaches students what timelines are and how to create them for different purposes. Students practice creating their own timelines in addition to extracting information, such as dates and event details, from timelines. They learn about both vertical and horizontal timelines and how to add images and other information to them.

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that suggests additions or adjustments that you can make to the lesson plan. One of the optional additions to this lesson is to create a class timeline with school events that you can add to throughout the school year.

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What our Creating a Timeline lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Creating a Timeline introduces students to the purpose of using timelines and how to create them for different purposes. With our experiential application, students not only interpret timeline data but also generalize their understanding by creating a simple timeline using historic information. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to define timeline, interpret and create a simple timeline using historic information. This lesson is for students in 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the orange box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. For this lesson, the supplies you will need are a ruler, colored pencils, paper for timelines, and the handouts. To prepare for this lesson ahead of time, you can send home the Parent/Child page, gather the supplies, and copy the handouts.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. One of these optional additions is to create a class timeline that shows different events from the school year. You could also add to this timeline throughout the year and add images to it using old magazines.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. This page also includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.


Parent/Child Page

The Creating a Timeline lesson plan includes a sheet that students will take home to their parents. This page explains that the students will be learning about timelines, and will be creating their own timelines using special events from their own life. It asks parents to sit down with their child and come up with some special events, what year those events took place, and a few notes about them. The students will then use it during class to create their own timelines.

Creating a Timeline

This lesson includes two pages of content. The first page begins by introducing students to the concept of a timeline. They will learn that timelines are a great way to present information such as events. Timelines can be either horizontal or vertical, but all of them show events in relation to each other based on time. The lesson includes an example timeline that shows events in the United States. The time period is years.

Next, the lesson lists some important things to keep in mind when creating a timeline. You can create timelines using any time period, whether that be years, months, days, hours, or something else! You can include images, pictures, drawings, or other visual aids related to the events. Timelines can capture any period of time, such as one day, one hour, or one year. There are many different things that you can represent on a timeline: events from someone’s life, events in history, inventions, or anything else! You need to space timelines out in a way that represents the amount of time that passed between the events. For example, you can show larger amounts of time by spacing the events apart further on the timeline.

Students will then learn about the steps that you need to go through to create a timeline. The first step is determining what events the timeline will show. The second step is deciding what time periods to use. The third step is deciding what intervals to use. The fourth step is figuring out whether or not you will include drawings or images. The fifth and final step is creating the timeline! These steps are all shown in the context of an example of a vertical timeline in the lesson.

Timelines are great at presenting information. They show the order of a certain set of events and give some basic information about those events. Creating timelines is easy!

Key Terms

Here is a list of the vocabulary words students will learn in this lesson plan:

  • Timeline: a graph showing the passage of time on a straight line
  • Time periods: the time intervals on a timeline; years, months, days, hours, etc.
  • Interval: the amount of space between two events on a timeline
  • Vertical: a type of timeline where information is displayed vertically


The Creating a Timeline lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


Students will create a timeline of their own life for the activity worksheet. They will first think of some events from their life to include from different years of their life. Next, they will write those events down next to the age they were when those events happened. They will then use a larger piece of paper to create their timeline, using correct intervals and a ruler. They can also include drawings or other images and a title.


For the practice worksheet, students will create two timelines using the information provided. The first is a timeline showing the years that different toys were invented. The second shows times that different foods were eaten by someone over the course of a day. They must include drawings for the second timeline.


The homework assignment asks students to look at a timeline that shows someone’s life and answer questions about it. Students will use their reading comprehension skills along with what they learned during the lesson to complete this homework assignment.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice worksheet and the homework assignment. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade


Social Studies, Video

State Educational Standards

LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.6, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.7, LB.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.7

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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United States United States

Creating a timeline

Excellent resources and the students were engaged at all time.

jacqueline s.

Creating A timeline

Easy to follow. Will keep using it

Barvel R.

Creating a Timeline

I was really impressed with this download. It will be implemented in my teaching the standard on timelines. It was also very informative.

Erin W.

Distance Learning

This was a great resource that was adaptable to distance learning. Thank you!

Australia Australia

Excellent Resource

It scaffolds students understanding of timelines from small time frames to larger time frames. It also scaffolds from students own lives - putting their own experiences in a timeline to putting years, events and inventions onto timelines.