One of the benefits of studying more modern history is the abundance of eyewitness accounts and primary sources that students can use to really understand the context of any historical event or time period. It also brings history to life and connects students to the people who lived during that time.
For this activity, students will create a timeline that focuses on a major event that took place in World War II from 1939-1941 through the eyes of individuals that witnessed the event. Teachers can assign events or allow students to choose the event they wish to research. Students should be able to represent an accurate chronology of the event and are encouraged to be as precise as possible by finding the month, day, hour, and perhaps even minute each action occurred.
For an alternative to the timeline layout, have students create a timeline poster to incorporate into a presentation or gallery walk. You can add more than one template to this assignment to give students lots of options, and update the instructions accordingly.
For this extended activity, students should be encouraged to use the historical thinking skill of corroboration in order to accurately depict the action or event that they researched. If students come across a discrepancy in two sources, they should describe what the differences are and argue which source is more credible and why. Once they have analyzed the credibility of their sources, they should share with the class the sources they found most credible and the ones they found least-credible and explain their rationale.
Grade Level 6-12
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual or Group
Type of Activity: Timelines
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Create a timeline that focuses on an event in World War II between 1939 and 1941 based on eyewitness accounts.
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
| Proficient |
| Emerging |
| Beginning |
Events and Dates
The events chosen for the timeline are significant and important to the overall understanding of the time period. The dates provided are correct.
Most of the events chosen for the timeline are significant and important to the overall understanding of the time period. Most of the dates provided are correct.
Some of the events chosen for the timeline are significant. There may be missing events, or events that are irrelevant. Too many dates may be incorrect.
The explanations or descriptions provided for each event are accurate and provide insight into the significance of the events.
The explanations or descriptions provided for each event are mostly accurate and attempt to provide insight into the significance of the events.
There are several glaring inaccuracies in the explanations or descriptions of the events. There may be little or no insight int the significance of the events, or the information provided may be too limited or missing.
There are 0-2 mistakes in spelling, grammar, and mechanics.
There are 3-4 mistakes in spelling, grammar, and mechanics.
There are 5 or more mistakes in spelling, grammar, and mechanics.
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