Title of the Lesson:  Timeline—Overview of WWII up to Pearl Harbor

Time Allotted: 90 minutes

Grade Level: 5th

Number of Learners:  30


Unit Theme:  “Why were Japanese-Americans interned, and how did the internment effect their lives?”

Standard(s) Met:  (see below)

Goal:  The learners will be able to explain different interpretations from diverse cultural perspectives and frames of reference (NCSS 1b); locate, analyze, organize, and apply information about a public issue recognizing multiple points of view (NCSS 10c).

Objectives:  During and after lecture presentations, students will trace the events leading to the United States’ entrance into WWII by creating a timeline. (stand. 3 obj. 2)

Materials Needed:  Text books, 5 poster papers (white or colored), 30 pencils, 30 erasers, 6 marker sets, 3 glue sticks, 35 pieces of type paper.  Materials should be stacked in the back of the classroom (poster paper, pencils in basket, markers in basket, etc.)


Motivation:  What are some important events that happened before the Untied States officially entered the war?  What one or two do you think is the most important?  Justify your rezoning for its (the event’s) importance?  (5 minutes)


  1. Pass out one sheet of type paper to each student. (30 sec)
  2. Ask the students to mentally recall the “motivation” questions.  What were some of the events that they felt were most important? (30 sec) 
  3. Give the students five minutes for brainstorming ten to fifteen important ideas.  Each student may use his/her textbook for help.
  4. Instruct each student to rank events in order of importance.
  5. Show multiple types of timelines (linear, spiral, chronological) (3 min) 
  6. Ask them to design a timeline using their brainstorm list; they may use an idea they liked from the examples.  Each student needs to work alone on this part; however, they may discuss dates and other facts with students. (15 min)
  7. Direct students to get into base groups and arrange themselves throughout the classroom. Floor, desks, and tables are all okay to be at.  (2 min) 
  8. Ask groups to collaboratively choose ten of the most important items from the made timelines.  Remind them to have a reason for each choice; they may be asked in the presentation to formulate an explanation. (5 min)
  9. Instruct “Material Max” (material collector) to collect the materials for his/her group when they are ready to begin.  Direct each group to create a timeline using their choice of events.  (20 min)
  10. Ask students to clean workspace and put materials away, then return to seats still in groups.  (5 min)
  11. Inform groups that they will be presenting timelines.  Ask for volunteers and continue the process until everyone has had an opportunity to share.  At the end of each sharing period, students will hang their timeline on the prepared wall and return to seats for the other presentations. (30 min)


Accommodations:  ESL students may brainstorm three to five ideas for their timeline that they may present with pictures as opposed to labeling.  Also, working in groups, they may be assigned the drawing portion rather than the labeling.  


Closure:  Explain that even though some of the events were the same, some were different.  Everyone had a different opinion on what is important and what caused certain events to happen.  Ask what is good about knowing multiple points of view?  What are the different points of view in WWII?  Explain that alone, one timeline only gives us limited information, but with the entire classes timelines, a greater amount of information is given. (5 min)


Assessment/Evaluation:  During individual and group brainstorming, walk around the classroom and view each student’s timeline.  Observe and note behavior of five to seven students during group work.  Ask each group to justify at least one event on their timeline.  Listen for specific examples and complete explanations.  Group timelines are hung on the wall; individual timelines are put in portfolios.


Extension:  If more time is needed and is available in the classroom, students may have more brainstorm and research time.  If they finish early, they may add more items to the timeline.