Math Activity

Children use a timeline to find out how many years it will be until they reach several important events, or milestones, in their lives.


For this activity, you need to know the age at which young people can get a driver's license in your state. It would also be helpful to gather similar information about eligibility for other local and state milestones. WHAT YOU NEED


  1. Invite volunteers to share information about some milestones in their lives so far, such as entering school, learning to do something new, getting a pet, and welcoming a new sibling. Have children recall how old they were when each milestone occurred.

  2. Explain that some events in life happen at a certain age. On the board or a chart, list these age-related milestones:

    Getting a driver's license: 16
    Becoming eligible to vote: 18
    Can serve in the House of Representatives: 25
    Can serve in the U.S. Senate: 30
    Can run for President of the United States: 35

  3. Have each child create her or his own milestone chart by dividing a piece of drawing paper into three columns. In the first column they copy the name of the milestone. In the second they will write the number of years they must wait for each milestone. In the third they will write the year the milestone can take place.

  4. Ask children to figure out how many years it will be until they reach each age on the list. (They can do so on a number line, by subtracting, or by using a calculator.) Then have them count that many years on the time line to discover in what year they will be eligible for each milestone. Have them use the information to complete their charts.


Have children each choose one of the milestones and draw themselves at that time. Children should write the date in large numbers at the top of the picture. Have children form a living timeline, holding their charts and dated pictures. Make it a talking timeline by having children briefly describe what their pictures show.

Create a list of age-related milestones that have local significance. Examples: when they can take swimming lessons at the community center, get a fishing license, use certain equipment, get a library card. Have children create a separate chart, arranged in chronological order, for these milestones.

Ask children to choose one milestone and write a paragraph telling how their life might change when they reach it. Have them share their predictions with a partner.

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