Keeping Track: A Family Timeline

Social Studies

Students will reflect on the kinds of events that help shape a family's growth and development, and then make a timeline.

What You Need

  • Lined writing paper
  • Newsprint
  • Oak tag strips 4" wide
  • Rulers, yardstick or other straight edge
  • Masking tape

What to Do

  1. Explain to students that timelines are often used to show the progression of historical periods. Timelines show, in chronological order, the important people, events and ideas that identify a particular time and place. Explain to students that they will be creating their own family timelines from their birth to the present.

  2. Ask students to brainstorm a list of significant family events that have occurred each year since they were born. Some examples include: the birth of other siblings, family trips, moves, new jobs, going to school, special family events and activities.

  3. Have students make their timelines, taping strips of oak tag together, as necessary. They may add drawings or symbols to highlight their most favorite events. Place the completed timelines on bulletin boards or walls, inviting students to explain their timelines.


  • Students may wish to add significant historical events to their timelines.

  • Students may invent a timeline for the next 11 - 12 years.

  • Students may choose the one event they feel had the greatest impact on their family and write about it in further detail.

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