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The Life and Times of…
Creating a Timeline to Understand the Historical Context of Past
Individuals, Events, and Travels
Students need to develop an understanding of the connections between
historical events and issues by placing people and events into their
context of place and time. They need to demonstrate an understanding
of the people and stories of Canada and their ways of life over
time. How far back does Alberta history go? What was happening at
different times? How were different people and events connected?
What was going on around Alberta at the same time? What about Canada?
In this project, students will research and develop an individual,
group, or whole class timeline that represents the key events in
a historical figures lifetime. They may choose from a number of
different representation formats in which to present their work.
They may also choose from a number of different options to extend
and enrich the timeline project.
Alberta Social Studies Curriculum Unit Connections
Grade Four - Alberta: The Land, Histories and Stories
4.2 The Stories, Histories and People of Alberta
4.3 Alberta: Celebrations and Challenges
Grade Five - Canada: The Land, Histories and Stories
5.2 Histories and Stories of Ways of Life in Canada
5.3 Canada: Shaping an Identify
Grade Seven - Canada: Origins, Histories and Movement of People
7.1 Toward Confederation
7.2 Following Confederation: Canadian Expansions
Materials and Resources Needed
Students will create a timeline that represents the life, travels,
and accomplishments of one of the "Uninvited Guest"
Mavericks. Timelines are a visual, physical way to put the life
of a historical figure into a viewpoint that students can understand.
They can also be connected to other events going on at the time,
whether in Alberta, Canada, or across the world. Adding these types
of events will assist students to place their Mavericks into a specific
historical context. The creation of a "Life and Times of…"
timeline will serve as the starting point to learn all about this
time in Alberta's history.
Introduce the project by examining and sharing the timeline on
the Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta site. It
will allow students to visualize what a timeline of their own will
look like. After they have chosen a Maverick to represent, they
will need to research the key events, activities, accomplishments,
and travels of that person. They will need to record the date, the
location, a short summary of that event and why they decided to
include it in their timeline. In other words, why was that event
After the research is completed, the teacher may choose how the
timeline will be created or allow the students choice in how they
represent their understanding. Possibilities include the following.
- Fold normal paper into eight sections and record one event on
- Use long rolls of chart paper or newsprint
- Use old computer printer paper that is attached end to end
- Use a chalkboard or whiteboard
- Use PowerPoint slides for each key event
- Use Word (or a similar program) to draw and label the timeline
- Use a string or rope all around the classroom or down a hall
with dates at measured intervals. All students put up their timelines
together as one. Each could use different colours of paper for
Using measurement and mathematical skills, students will have to
determine a scale that is able to fit the needed years within the
amount of space they have. They will place their events onto their
timeline at the appropriate and exact place in time. During or after
sharing of the student work, they should examine how the different
key events from the Mavericks or Alberta history are connected.
Were there any surprises that came out of seeing all the events
Assessment and Evaluation
- Students and their teacher should develop their own rubric by
identifying evaluation criteria for the project that will match
their own learner outcomes. This allows students to understand
the expectations for their work and to have input into the ongoing
- Students may use the project rubric as a guide for writing a
self-assessment of their project work. They will determine their
level for each of the categories and use the criteria specified
in their rubric to justify them.
- After completing the project, students may talk or journal about
what they felt they did very positively, what they had difficulty
with, and how they would change how they would approach a similar
project in the future.
Ideas for Enriching this Project
- Students will write a poem about the Maverick or one of the
events from the time line of their life. Connect all the writings
to a group timeline to be displayed in the classroom or hallway.
- Use PowerPoint to create individual slides for each entry on
the timeline. Students can then present their timeline on a large
screen and speak about why each event was chosen. They could also
use PowerPoint to print out he slides for a physical timeline.
- Students could keep adding to the timeline through the course
of the year, adding events from their own lives, family history,
current events, or other subjects they study.
- Students can write poems about their Maverick or key events
from their lifetime.
- Students could create a newspaper that documents the key events
of one Maverick's life or from a specific period in time.