Beacon Lesson Plan Library

A Look Through Time

Kristy Rousseau
Bay District Schools


This is the final lesson in a three-part series seeking to answer the question, -How do we know about history?- Students will use previously gathered research to produce tourist pamphlets that highlight historical county events.


The student selects and uses a variety of appropriate reference materials, including multiple representations of information, such as maps, charts, and photos, to gather information for research projects.

The student produces final documents that have been edited for-correct spelling-correct use of punctuation, including commas in series, dates, and addresses, and beginning and ending quotation marks-correct paragraph indentation -correct usage of subject/verb agreement, verb and noun forms, and sentence structure and -correct formatting according to instruction.

The student writes notes, comments, and observations that reflect comprehension of content and experiences from a variety of media.

The student organizes information using alphabetical and numerical systems.

The student creates expository responses in which ideas and details follow an organizational pattern and are relevant to the purpose.

The student understands how individuals, ideas, decisions, and events can influence history.

The student understands broad categories of time in years, decades, and centuries.


-Previously constructed classroom timeline of county events
-Previously constructed chart of how -Individuals, Ideas, Decisions, and Events- have influenced county history
-Reference materials gathered during -Through the Years- and -Touring My County-
-Students' -decade notes- from -Touring My County-
-Various pamphlets from local businesses, parks, libraries, museums, and tourist centers
-Several sheets of chart paper to list project criteria (Download samples from Associated File.)
-KWL chart per group of 2-3 students (Download from Associated File.)
-White paper, construction paper, colored pencils, markers, glue sticks, rulers, scissors, etc.
-Field trip agenda to visit local historical sites (optional)
-Polaroid or digital cameras (optional)
-Scanner and printer (optional)
-Presentation software such as PowerPoint (optional)


1. Gather pamphlets.
2. Download Project Criteria and list on chart paper (or run copies for group use).
3. Download KWL Chart and copy one per group.
4. Gather production materials needed for pamphlets.
5. Talk with media specialist about display options.
6. Determine how criteria will be scored for a final grade.
7. Arrange agenda for field trip (optional).
8. Become familiar with using digital cameras (optional).
9. Practice importing pictures from digital cameras and scanners (optional).
10. Become familiar with presentation software such as PowerPoint (optional).
11. Check Internet connectivity if computers will be used in research (optional).


BACKGROUND: In the second lesson, -Touring My County,- students brainstormed about county events that occurred during their lifetime, and then used research to gather additional information about the -individuals, ideas, decisions, and events- that influenced their county history over the past century. Students recorded -decade notes- and observations in personal notebooks and on a class timeline. In groups, they selected the -Top Ten- historical events that they found most interesting and influential. In this lesson, students will work in groups to develop these ten events into -Then and Now- pamphlets. Copies of these pamphlets will be displayed in the library for the student body, and in the classroom to help new students learn about their new community.

1. As a review, ask students the following questions: (Review questions could be developed as a game or even quiz)
· How do we know about history? (Through spoken and written words)
· What broad categories of time do we often use when referring to history? (Centuries, Decades, Years)
· Give an example of an individual who influenced our county history? An idea? A decision? An event?
· List at least 5 resources used to gather research.

2. Take time to address any misconceptions or misunderstandings revealed by their responses. Refer back to previous lessons for examples and connections that might strengthen these concepts.

3. Review the -Top Ten- historical county topics that the class selected during the lesson, -Touring My County.- Explain that groups of 2-3 students will use the research the class has gathered to create -Then and Now- pamphlets for each topic.


4. Pass out various pamphlets gathered from local community businesses, libraries, museums, parks, tourist centers, etc. Have students review the pamphlets in their groups, and write a list of common features found on a pamphlet.

5. Allow the groups to share with the class, and record the common features on chart paper.

6. As a class, select the features that they want to include in their -Then and Now- pamphlets. On a new piece of chart paper, list selected features. (Possible features may include: A title and picture on the first page; subtitles, pictures, and small paragraphs on the inside pages; pictures, maps, timelines, and additional resource information on the back page.)

7. After selecting the features, ask the students, -What do you like about these pamphlets?- -What grabs your attention and makes you want to read this pamphlet?- Use their answers to develop class criteria for the -Then and Now- pamphlets. If there is room on the feature chart, list determined criteria next to each feature. If more room is needed, use a new sheet of paper to list criteria. (For example, titles are interesting, pictures are outlined and contain captions, paragraphs are written in an expository form, resource references are included, various eye-catching colors are used, etc.)

CONTENT CRITERIA (List on chart paper)

8. Explain to the students that they will use their -decade notes- and additional class resources to supply the information needed on their pamphlets. Emphasize that the content of their pamphlets should include expository paragraphs in which ideas and details a) are chronologically listed, b) highlight how individuals, ideas, decisions, or events influenced county history, and c) use the broad categories of years, decades, and centuries to explain how much time has passed since -Then.-

9. Provide a KWL chart for each group. Allow time for them to list -What they KNOW- about their topic from their decade notes and class timeline on the chart. Rotate among the groups to assist with questions and potential stumbling blocks.

10. After listing what they KNOW, have students discuss in their groups if there is something more that they WANT to know about their topic. Since most of their research has dealt with the -Then,- students may need to gather research on the -Now- aspect of this topic.

11. If needed, allow groups time to gather additional research to answer their questions. As information is found, it should be recorded on the -What I LEARNED- section of the group chart.

12. Provide whole class instruction on how to design the pamphlets. Have students fold their white sheets of paper into thirds and cut along the folds. Students should then use these pages to write, draw, and add pictures for their part of the pamphlet. If a mistake is made, the small piece of paper can simply be thrown away, without ruining the entire pamphlet.

13. List on chart paper the WRITING PROCESS CRITERIA used for final products that have been edited. Explain that only when sheets meet the criteria for format, content, and writing may they glued on the piece of construction paper that has been folded into a pamphlet.

14. Provide whole class instruction on the COOPERATIVE WORK habits that you expect to see in their groups. List these CRITERIA on a chart for students to refer to during their group work. At the beginning of each work period, review the behaviors you expect to see that day.

15. Make sure students know where to get the production materials they need (paper, colored pencils, rulers, scissors, glue sticks, etc.) and have a system for cleaning up and storing these materials at the end of a work period.

16. As groups are ready, they should begin working on their -Then and Now- pamphlets. Rotate among groups to assist with questions and potential stumbling blocks. Emphasize the productive cooperative behaviors that you see in their groups, so others who may be off track have a model of what you expect to see. Each day, direct students' attention to the criteria for format, content, writing, and cooperation.

17. Before gluing each individual sheet to the pamphlet, groups should self-edit their work by reviewing the criteria charts for format, content, and writing. When they have successfully met the criteria, they may glue their sheets to the construction paper.

18. As groups complete their -Then and Now- pamphlets, pamphlets will be displayed in the classroom. Each group will be required to read and critique the other pamphlets using the feature and criteria charts. Comments and suggestions based on the criteria will be made by each group on a sheet of notebook paper and given to the teacher. These critiques will be compiled, reviewed, and handed back to the groups at the end of the project.

19. Talk with the media specialist about reserving a space in the library to display the class pamphlets for a period of time. If desired, color copies of the pamphlets could be made and laminated in order to display them in the library year-round.

20. OPTIONAL: To gather pictures and information for the -Now- part of the pamphlet, arrange a field trip to local historical sites about which the students have been learning and researching. While on the field trip, groups can use a Polaroid or digital camera to take pictures of the sites at the present time. (Pictures of the students at the sites could also be taken.) These pictures could then be used on the -Now- page of the group pamphlets, while historical pictures of the site can be copied and/or scanned for the -Then- page.

21. If digital cameras are used, images can also be imported into a presentation program such as PowerPoint, which students could use to create a multi-media version of the -Then and Now- pamphlets. This platform would allow students to import pictures, text, sounds, and movie clips, and would open up a whole other arena for research and presentation. For an example of how historical research can be compiled into a multi-media format, check out the Historical CD-ROM created by third-grade teachers and used by students in Bay County, FL: (


1. Collect and assess groups' KWL Charts to see that -notes, comments, and observations- have been included in each section that -reflect comprehension of content and experiences from a variety of media.

2. The -Then and Now- pamphlets will be assessed for the following criteria:
PRODUCT: Feature and Format Criteria (to be developed by students and teacher)
· Title and subtitles to include…
· Pictures to include…
· Maps, Charts, Timelines to include…
· Others…
PRODUCT: Content Criteria
· Expository paragraphs should include ideas and details that
a) are chronologically listed,
b) highlight the influence of individuals, ideas, decisions, and events on county history, and
c) use broad categories of time such as year, decades, and centuries to explain how much time has passed since -Then-.
· Resources used to gather information presented on the pamphlet should be referenced to assess that -students select and use a variety of appropriate reference materials.

PROCESS: Writing Criteria
· Expository paragraphs should be edited for
a) correct spelling
b) correct use of punctuation
c) correct use of capitalization
d) correct paragraph indentation
e) correct formatting according to class criteria
PROCESS: Cooperative Workers
· Group and student behaviors should give evidence that students can
a) assume assigned role(s) when working in groups
b) contribute to group goals/work
c) motivate and energize group to complete tasks


1. Language Arts time may be used to teach and effectively develop the writing process skills students will need to produce expository paragraphs.
2. If available, older students could be used to help the younger students edit their writing.

Web Links

Web supplement for A Look through Time
Bay County History CD-ROM

Attached Files

K-W-L Chart for "A Look through Time" and Project Criteria Chart     File Extension: pdf

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