The North American Exploration Timeline
Social Studies
Shelby Blanton

This lesson is great for third graders and all grades above. It’s primarily about timelines, so before assigning this assignment, teachers must go over what a timeline is, how to use/read/analyze a timeline, what type of information goes on a timeline, etc. For this lesson I used a technology tool called “Time Toast” where you are able to create a timeline online and add pictures and words (it would probably be a good idea to go over how to use this website before assigning the assignment as well). I assigned the North American Exploration, but you could use if for any time period you are studying.

Third Grade, Social Studies
Standard 1.2.
a. Chronologically sequence important events in a community or region (DOK 1)
b. Give examples of people and events, and developments that brought important changes to a community or region (DOK 1-2)

A= Third Grade Students
B= Create a timeline that can be used to show sequential important events that took place during the North American
C= Using hands-on-technology individually
D= Works well and can be easily understood by other third graders to understand important events and in what order they took place

Objective: Students will create a “Time Toast” that discusses and shows the ten most important explorations they believe were crucial to the discovery of North America. For each exploration, they much include a relevant picture of the explorer and an argument for why this exploration was so important.

21st Century Skills and Bloom’s
ISTE NETS: Research and Information Fluency is used in this lesson as students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information, as is states in the standard. The students will be using the internet as a digital tool to “gather” information about explorers, explorations, and dates. They will then use a digital tool called Time Toast to evaluate and use the information they gathered. They will “use” the tool to place events on the timeline and they will “evaluate” the information and dates in order to place them correctly on the timeline.

Levels of Blooms Taxonomy: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, and Analysis are the four types of Bloom’s Taxonomy used in this lesson. Knowledge is used because students must know background information about the exploration of North America before they pick what explorers they thought were the most important. Comprehension is used because students are demonstrating their understanding of important explorations and when they took place by organizing, interpreting, and giving descriptions of explorers and their explorations on a timeline. Application is used because the students are actually applying their knowledge by creating a timeline with the correct information on it. And analysis is used because they must explain why that explorer is so important.

Overview of Technology Tool
The technology tool that I chose for this lesson was called “Time Toast”. It is a website where you are able to create a timeline about anything and everything. It is simple, straightforward, and easy to use. The timeline is visually very big as your looking at it on the screen and as you create events along the timeline, little dots are created representing your events. You are able to add pictures and words to each event that will appear as you hover your mouse over the dots. While you do have the option to pay monthly for this website and receive more advanced options, there is a free version which works just as well. The only other thing you must have to use this website is Flash Player 9.0.

Link to Time Toast:

Link to a helpful YouTube video for better understanding of Time Toast:

Lesson Detail
I would use this lesson when my class was studying the North American Exploration unit- more specifically, as we were finishing up this unit. Before I started this lesson, I would first go over with my class what a timeline is, show examples of different timelines, and explain what goes on a timeline, etc. After reviewing this, I would go over how to use the website Time Toast. I would then hand out the instructions to the actual lesson. As a class we would go over the directions, I would take any questions, and then set them loose. I would walk around and help with individual questions but other than that, they would be one their own (hopefully encouraging them to take the reigns and teach it to themselves). They would need to:
-research different explorers who were important to the discovery of North America
-choose their top ten, then write a paragraph (six sentences or more) explaining/defending their explorer
-create a Time Toast Timeline, adding in the dates when their expedition took place, the paragraph defending the explorer, and a picture of the explorer.
The assessment would be the completion of their timeline that the teacher would grade.

What’s the Added Value?
Time Toast is a great online digital tool for teaching and learning. It goes beyond any timeline that you could draw by hand. Using Time Toast allows the student to create a uncluttered and easy to read/analyze timeline. They are able to add in actual and factual pictures to give them a better understanding of the time period. Not only can they do this, but they can also add in their own words to make it more personal. It is a great and useful tool and helps students go beyond what they could ever do on paper.

What I Learned
I learned that there are so many useful online tools out there to help further education. Time Toast is a great website I never knew existed. It is a fun and helpful tool that makes creating timelines more clear and easy to use.