Behold! The Timeline!

Grade Levels K-4 Classroom Activities

While many of the ideas we present in The Illinois Chronicles Educator's Guide correspond to specific articles or events in The Illinois Chronicles, this activity proveds general suggestions on introducing and using the timeline in the classroom.  There are many points of entry into this engaging feature and we hope you discover some of your own along the way!


  • Choose six articles from The Illinois Chronicles (or events from the timeline) and read these articles aloud—perhaps at specified intervals, such as every Friday or every other day. After each article is read aloud, each student should create an illustration of the event (with a descriptive sentence or two, where able). After all six articles have been read, engage in a class discussion and ask the students to arrange their illustrations and descriptions of the six events in order, forming their own mini timelines. Students can share their timeline with a partner or in small groups before sharing with the whole class, practicing using ordinal terms.
  • Shared Inquiry Extension: After completing their timeline, have the students choose their favorite event(s) to explore. Small groups of students can learn more about a particular event using books or digital resources in a shared research project. The event or subject can be described or summarized in a drawing, written report, or other presentation form.
  • My Timeline: Create an intergenerational timeline using events from three different generations (grandparent/senior, parent/adult, and events from your own life). Include three important or significant events that happened during each person’s lifetime and plot on a timeline. (Be sure to emphasize that if the student does not have access to information about other generations, they can interview neighbors, friends, or consider community resources like nursing homes, in order to allow all students the ability to interview adults and seniors.) Find and add at least one event on the Illinois timeline that connects or adds value to your intergenerational timeline. Explore your trajectory and your role in history by predicting three significant or important events that will be a part of your future, and can be added to your timeline.
  • Predict: What will Illinois look like in 2218, 200 years from now, in regard to the various categories color-coded on The Illinois Chronicles timeline (science, culture, sport, etc.)? What event(s) might you plot on a timeline marking notable changes within one or more of those categories? Write and/or draw about your prediction(s) and share with your classmates. Sort the class predictions into the appropriate color-coded categories. Additional connections can be made to the “My Timeline” activity above, by adding their predictions to their intergenerational timeline.
  • Time Capsule: After exploring some key Illinois history events and figures, gather artifacts, objects, and symbols representing Illinois and place them in a time capsule. Imagine this time capsule will be opened in 200 years and you want future Illinois residents to know our history. Be sure to “make the case” for each object as space will be limited.

Crosscutting/Teaching Tip/Extension/Resources