Activity Types: Timelines


Getting "Handy" in the classroom with technology integration!

What is a Timeline?
The Wikipedia describes a timeline in this fashion:

Chronology is the science of locating events in time. An arrangement of events, from either earliest to latest or the reverse, is also called a chronology or, particularly when involving graphical elements, a timeline. A timeline serves multiple teaching/learning purposes.

The use of timelines for instructional purposes are as limitless as your imagination. Gary Hopkins writes an article for Education Week in which he says, "Students will be prepared (and eager!) to create their own timelines: timelines of family history or your town's history; a timeline showing when important inventions were first introduced; timelines that document students' personal journal entries; timelines that serve as a record of important events in history from the past (the Civil War) or that record events of history in the making. The possibilities for timeline activities across the grades and the curriculum are endless. Timelines can be as simple or as sophisticated as your students' abilities. And best of all, timeline resources are everywhere! You needn't look any further than your classroom. Daily newspapers, almanacs, and sets of encyclopedia are great timeline resources. So is the Internet!" Other resources, such as this ITN newsletter, give valuable resources for Virtual Timelines.

In addition, there are several online timeline tools that can be used to create timelines easily. Check out the Time Line Maker at and the ReadWriteThink tool at

Copyright 2002-2011 Handy4Class Project

Candace Figg, PhD
Brock University
Faculty of Education, Teacher Education Department
500 Glenridge, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada L2S 3A1
(905.688.5550, x5347)

Jenny Burson, EdD
University of Texas at Austin (retired)
Education Department, Curriculum and Instruction