A Civil Rights Timeline

Math and Language Arts Activity

Students make and annotate a timeline of the Constitutional amendments that extended civil rights.



  1. Tell students that they are going to create a Civil Rights Timeline based on Constitutional amendments that advanced civil rights in the United States.

  2. Divide the class into study teams to read through the Constitution and decide which amendments were significant in extending civil rights.

  3. Bring the teams together to discuss their findings. Have each team choose one amendment to research. Students write the date and the amendment on a piece of drawing paper, then add pertinent historical information.

  4. Have students organize the amendments chronologically in a timeline. The first point on the timeline should represent the year the Constitution was ratified.


One team can be responsible for studying important judicial decisions that advanced civil rights, such as Brown v. Board of Education, then adding information about them to the timeline.

Students can use index cards to add mini-biographies of major actors in the advance of civil rights, such as leading abolitionists, suffragists, and civil rights lawyers and litigants.

Have students calculate the years between the ratification of the original document and the passage of each amendment. Lead students in a discussion that relates events on their timeline to such momentous events as the Civil War, World War I, and World War II, each of which led to important societal changes.

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