Teaching Timelines using Ancient China - Lesson Plan for Teachers Illustration

Ancient China Lesson Plan - Teaching Timelines

Teaching Timelines:  A Computer Lab/Classroom Activity

Preparation: One handout per student. One side with drawing of a dragon with five empty squares along his body. The other side has a heading: Name line, class line, assignment: Make a Timeline. Colored pencils. 

Computer Lab:

  • Any ordering activity or game will work. For Ancient China, I like this one:  Chinese Ordering Game interactive - Have the kids quickly play this simple and colorful game online, and select Ordering, 1-5. Then put it to work using their handout by substituting 1-5 with Ancient China Dynasties: Shang, Zhou, Qin, Han, Tang, one dynasty per box, whichever dynasties they want to use, as long as the order is correct. 

  •  Show the youtube video What is a timeline? 

  • Then say: Time to flip your page over. Tell the kids they will be creating a timeline back in class. But first, we need to dress up our page a bit. Then show this youtube video: How to draw a Chinese Lucky Cat.  Have them follow along and draw a cat at the top of their page. Remind them to leave room for their timeline. The cat should just be at the top of their page.

Back in Class: The rest of this class period can be moved back to the classroom to create their timeline. (If necessary, you can always collect them and pass them out again the next day to finish up.)

  • Quickly brainstorm with your class different styles and designs of timelines they might use - storybook, clothesline, kites, whatever they can come up with. 

  • Close the lesson by telling the kids to a make a timeline about one subject or from a list of subjects - suggestions: 5 happy times in their own life, the Story of Mulan, another ancient Chinese story. Tell them they use any style or design for their timeline including a dragon. Make sure they put their name on the paper somewhere.

  • The timelines they create make for a fun wall display with color, continuity, and originality. Have extra blank sheets handy. Some kids like to try more than once.