Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Historical Timelines using Google Maps

Timelines and a History Classroom go hand and hand. Having students understanding Chronological Thinking and to be able to see the relationship between cause and effect are important skills in any history classroom.

The past two years I have added a little bit of twist to the traditional timeline by having students create timelines using Google Maps. Not only do students have to place events in order, but they also have to think about relevance of location of those events.

At the conclusion of our study of the events leading up the US Civil War, students create a timeline Google Map of the following events:

  • Missouri Compromise   
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act  
  • Compromise of 1850   
  • Election of Lincoln   
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin   
  • Secession of South Carolina 
  • John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry   
  • Invention of the cotton gin   
  • Attack on Fort Sumter  
  • Dred Scott Supreme Court decision  
Students have to place the events in the correct historical sequence in which they occurred. 

Students than have to think about a possible location to place that event on their Google Map that is logical for the event. Some of these events happened at an actual location, some happened in a general area, others it can be left up to interpretation where the event location makes the most sense to the student. 

Finally students have to identify five events that they think are the most important to understanding what caused the US Civil War. Students have to write a short caption for those events where they describe the event in their own words as well as a brief explanation on the significance of the event as a causation factor of the US Civil War. 

YouTube directions for students to set-up their Timeline Map:

Overall, I really enjoy the project. Students are stretched a little bit on their thinking and it gives me a chance to see which events students found the most significance from our study of this time period in US History.

I would love in the future to have students create their maps in Google Maps, but create a Narrated Google Tour in Google Earth as an extension to their final project.

Looking for other Timeline Generator Websites, check these website tools out:

What are some ways you use Google Maps in your classroom? Do you have any great ways that incorporate timelines into your classroom? I would love to hear about it in the comments section below.

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