New Year Historical Timeline Activity
We throw around the terms BC, AD, BCE, and CE all the time in social studies. But how well do our students really understand the sequence in which historical events take place?
With the new year right around the corner, what better time to practice timelines with your students?! In this new year timeline activity, your students will build their knowledge of chronology as they analyze events from the last 4000 years. Check out the full lesson plan below – and don’t forget to download the free resources!
New Year Timeline Lesson Plan
Objective: I can create a timeline with 10 important events that happened between 2020 BC and 2020 AD.
- Planning Sheet and Timeline Template
- Student computers with internet access
Introduce the Topic
1. First, draw a timeline on the whiteboard. Label the ends of the timeline 2020 BC and 2020 AD.
2. Second, define the timeline abbreviations.
- BC – Before Christ
- BCE – Before the Common Era
- AD – Anno Domini (Latin for “in the year of the Lord”)
- CE – Common Era
This hilarious teacher-made video is a quick 3-minute review of reading timelines.
This video, while slightly longer (6 min.), gives a very detailed and easy-to-understand explanation of timeline abbreviations.
Brainstorm Events as a Class
3. Next, brainstorm important historical events from the last 4,000 years altogether as a class. Make a giant list on the board. Challenge students to think of BC events.
Explain the Student New Year Timeline Activity
4. Explain the following guidelines:
- Students make their own timeline with 10 important events that happened in the last 4,000 years.
- Five events must be BC and five events must be AD.
- Timelines may be themed (ex: wars, literature, inventions) or may simply consist of events that students find interesting.
Students Research BC and AD Events
5. Students use computers to learn about interesting events. I recommend having students find BC events first since they are probably less familiar with them.
- Here are a few great websites for student research:
Students Create Their New Year Historical Timeline
6. Students pick 10 events and record them on their planning sheets.
7. Then, students add the events to the timeline and draw a picture for each event. *Check the events before students start drawing to make sure they have plotted them correctly.
Display Student Timelines
Display your students’ timelines around the room. In fact, this activity would make a really cool bulletin board display!
Download the New Year Timeline Activity
I hope this new year timeline activity helps your students to have a better understanding of timelines! This lesson is also Google Classroom compatible. To download, simply click the button below.
Looking for more social studies lessons? Check out these other free lesson plans I have created. In addition, all lesson plans are Google Classroom compatible – perfect for both in-person and distance learning!