Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Mr./Ms.Scientist, This Is Your Life

Michelle Gowan
Liberty County Schools


Students create a timeline of ten events in chronological order about a scientist to include his/her accomplishments. Students practice by completing a personal timeline in which they follow verbal instructions.


The student follows verbal directions.

The student knows selected scientists and their accomplishments.

The student understands chronology (for example, knows how to construct and label a timeline of events).


-Writing materials
-Reference materials, encyclopedias, textbooks, library books with information about scientist's lives and accomplishments
-Ruler for each student
-Colored pencils
-Container to use to draw a student's name for the attention grabbing activity
-Overhead, transparency, and marking pen


1. The teacher should discern whether any student's IEP or AIP might conflict with the expectation that students follow verbal directions. If this is a factor, the teacher will have to make a determination about the bonus point rubric.

2. Write and conceal on the board the bonus point opportunity:
1 point = timeline has a catchy title
1 point = a horizontal line is drawn halfway down the page and there are ten intersecting vertical lines at fairly even intervals
1 point = timeline has 10 events about the student's life
1 point = 3 of the events include an accomplishment, one of which should be an accomplishment for which the scientist is readily known
1 point = timeline is neat and attractive. The timeline incorporates use of color and clean, straight lines

2. Gather books, magazines, encyclopedias in the classroom or arrange with the media specialist to gather materials about scientists and schedule time for the whole class to visit the media center to collect information. If students have permission to use the Internet at school, the teacher may bookmark the web links on the computer for students to utilize for research.

4. Gather materials


1. Without telling the students the purpose of the activity, ask each student to write his/her name on a piece small piece of paper and to fold it. Select a volunteer to gather all names into a container. As they are doing this, tell students that there once was a television show that featured the life and accomplishments of important people.

2. Ask a student to draw a name from the container and share with the class that the selected student will be the featured guest of the -show- today and that the student's life will be depicted on a timeline. Explain that bonus points will be offered at the end of the activity for students demonstrating they can follow verbal directions. Explain to students that various aspects of a timeline will be explained and they will use those skills to create a timeline later.

3. Solicit suggestions from the students for a title for the timeline. Explain that every timeline must have a title. The teacher should challenge students to be creative with the title and not just select -Sue's Life- or something too basic. After discussion, the teacher approves the title to be used and writes it at the top of the transparency. Remind students that they should remain attentive because bonus points will be given to those that can complete the practice activity by following verbal directions and that one of the verbal directions is to include a title for a timeline.

4. Using a clean transparency, model how to create the x axis by using a ruler and draw a horizontal line across the middle of the page, leaving at least one inch margins. The teacher explains that this line will note important events about the student's life in chronological order from the earliest event to the latest event. Remind students again that this skill will be applied in a practice activity that will be a bonus point opportunity.

5. Draw ten 1/2 inch long intersecting, vertical lines at even intervals along the horizontal line and will explain that the ten events will be shown with the year or specific date just below the vertical line and the name of the event will be written above the vertical bars. Again, student's ability to complete this step in a few moments will be a bonus point opportunity.

6. Ask volunteer student when he/she was born and record the data according to Instruction #5 above on the transparency. The teacher should model neatness and stress that a good timeline should include neatness.

7. Continue the class activity using volunteers who know the student to complete the timeline. At least three events should reflect an important accomplishment in the student's life such as learning a skill, winning an award, etc. Review the steps taken to produce a timeline. Point out the rubric aspects without showing the rubric to students.

8. Explain that timelines are very important graphic organizers to help us understand in a fairly concise way a little about someone's life and accomplishments. The students will now be invited to practice their timeline skills by creating their own timelines of their life and accomplishments.

9. Distribute rulers to each student and allow 10-15 minutes for students to complete their timelines. The teacher should circulate the room to check that students remain on task and to answer any questions. The featured student may create his/her own timeline on paper or the teacher may opt to utilize him/her as a helper to verify that each student's timeline has a title, dates are in chronological order, assist with questions, etc. How well he/she does this will determine his/her bonus points. Alert the volunteer student of this.

10. At the end of the time limit, collect rulers and unveil the bonus point rubric and explain each aspect. Allow students time to score his/her paper against the bonus rubric. Another option would be to allow students to switch papers and score each other's papers.

11. Collect timelines to review and verify the rubric grade. If the grade is at least 4 points, the teacher should be confident enough that the student satisfied the skill. If the student receives less than a 4, the teacher should conference with the student to determine why the score was lower. Once timelines are scored and bonus points are recorded, the teacher might display these for open house or other publication purposes.

12. According to the teacher preparation notes, the teacher should make resources available to students about the lives and accomplishments of various scientists and explain that students will now research the lives of a selected scientist and create a timeline using the same scoring rubric as the bonus point opportunity but the point values change to 5 points each. The teacher will amend the scoring rubric on the board to reflect 5 points for each component.

13. Emphasize that students should add to the visual appeal of a timeline by using colored pencils or by drawing simple objects to represent events as well as labeling them and that students will be expected to use either color and/or graphics to enhance the visual appeal of the timeline. The teacher should also stress that students locate at least three scientific accomplishments to which the scientists are most known for that is a major part of the scoring rubric. This portion should require at least two class periods.

14. Return the rulers to students as they work to complete the assignment. Circulate about the classroom to coach students as they work and to facilitate as needed.


A minimum score of 4 on the student's personal timeline is satisfactory support that the student has followed the language arts standard for following verbal directions.

Inclusion of three scientific accomplishments, one of which should be an accomplishment that the scientist is most known for, will meet the selected science standard.

The scoring rubric for the timeline with a minimum score of 20 will be satisfactory evidence that the student has satisfied the social studies standard. The teacher should prorate the points for the timeline of 10 events according to the number of events provided by the student.


The teacher may adjust the point system of the scoring rubric to meet his/her classroom scoring scale.

Students could give oral presentations about their time lines in class or to the teacher.

Students could generate timelines of important historic personalities as a research activity for a History Fair project or other writing assignment.

Students could use the internet web links to conduct research.

The teacher could follow the Metcalf Laboratory School unit plan to have students complete Power Point presentations about their scientist.

Web Links

Web supplement for Mr./Ms.Scientist, This is Your Life
Famous Scientists

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