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xHistory :: 6-9 :: Concept of Time
xTable of Contents:


xDaily Time Lines

...strips of paper with a horizontal line.
...pages of current daily calendars of assorted sizes
...wide strips of heavy paper marked with spaces for pasting and writing.

Group Presentation:
Discuss passage of time and different ways of telling how time has passed. Show how making a mark on this line is one way we can tell the passage of time for one day and is perhaps how the ancient peoples kept track of their days. Make a mark each morning.

Several days later: Children count to see how many lines have been placed to represent number of days which have passed.

Now a new line is set up to show units of days. A unit length is decided upon to show one day. Now, because we know how big to make a day, we will keep this unit of time consistent. The size of units can be changed for a new week or at a given point. The children must understand that one unit stands for one period of time.

The discussion goes on to the names of the days: today, yesterday and tomorrow. The date may also be discussed. The pages of a calendar are examined and compared with other calendar pages. One page signifies one day despite its size or shape. Today's page is pasted on the time line and an anecdote is written below. Several calendars may be started and used to record daily atmospheric temperature, school events or schedules. Each morning, one more page is pasted on.

Several days later, compare calendars and remind them once again that the day is the same, but the unit for the different calendars is different.

Age: 6 years old.

Direct aim:
...To understand the concept of a unit of time:
......One unit for a specific period of time.
......To understand that within a time line, this unit must be consistent.
...To learn the days of the week.

Indirect aim:
...To prepare for the time lines of history where very small units equal centuries.
...This is hierarchical representation which parallels math materials.


xThe Whole Year

...Whole year calendars pasted together to be a long strip showing each day. This may be rolled or folded for storage.
..."Year and its parts" six strips of various parts of the year, six arrows or labels. for each part.
...Cardboard circle fraction inset of 11/12 and 1/12.
...Metal insets: whole, 1/2,1/3,1/4, 1/6 of a circle.

After seeing time represented one day at a time, let's see what a year looks like.

One long calendar strip is rolled out. The children read the names of the days of the week and the names of the months.

Note; If the child at this point has not learned the names of the months and the number of months in the year, s/he should study them with this and other language materials.

Other calendars, the smallest last, are rolled out to be examined and compared, and to show the child that despite the different sizes, each shows the same amount of time: a whole year.

The measurement used for each unit (day) must be maintained throughout.

"A Year and its Parts" The whole year and its parts is laid out. The labels "One whole year - twelve months" is placed to the right.

The whole metal inset also representing ONE is placed to the left. The strip is folded to make two equal parts. The parts are then counted. The calendar strips for 6 months are compared to the two equal parts.

The children are shown that the two equal parts equal ONE Whole. The label "1/2 year - 6 months" is placed on the right and the 1/2 metal inset is placed to the left of the strip. The presentation continues with "1/3 year - 4 months", "1/4 year - three months, a season", 1/6 year - two months" and "1/12 year - one month".

A three period lesson follows this work as a review session.

Direct Aims:
...To have the child see a representation of a whole year.
...To have the child understand the concept of a year.
...To have the child understand the concept of a month.
...To have the child learn the divisions of a year.

Indirect Aim: Preparation for historical time lines.

Previous work: The child should have had previous work with fractions. The seasons work should be done parallel with this work.


xPersonal Time Lines

...Time line paper
...mounting paper
...scissors, glue

Group presentation: Show the empty time line.

"This time line can represent how long you have lived or the lives of your family. You can decide how much time you want each unit to be. Why don't you start with a time line for your parent(s)?."

The child will see that counting out the days or months of a year will be too long for a parent and will probably settle into one unit per year.


1. My family

The child can cut out time lines to represent him/herself and one for each member of the family along a straight line at the top of the page. These are placed vertically down the paper. They can write each name at the top of each time line. The child's own name is written in color. Since each strip is one year, make a darker line to mark in each ten years to make counting easier. The child's time line should be to the left. Have parents next, brothers and sisters and then a grandparent. Have child turn the time line horizontally. The straight line that all the TL's sit on is now the present and it is possible to see how much longer the grandparents and parents have lived than the children, etc.

2. My family by age

Now paste each family member in chronological order. Now you can see who is oldest, youngest, etc.

3. The history of my birthdays

The teacher prepares a time line representing at least seven years with the names of the months from January to December written in. Now the unit of time becomes a month."During what month were you born? Each year, you have a birthday on the same day of the same month. Put a star on your month for every year." Now the child can count how many months until her/his birthday.

4. A history of the child

The teacher prepares a time line representing each year of the child's life with space to write something about each year. This should be a family project where the child asks the parents questions about parents' or grandparents' memories about him/her. A picture can be used for each year. Time line can be made on blocks of cardboard, taped and folded like a fan.
Writing should be age appropriate: a sentence or two for a first year child, several for second, a paragraph to a page for third.

Direct aim: to understand the concept of a time line as a representation of events that have take place; to give the child a sense of the history of themselves in relationship with their family.

Indirect aim: To prepare for historical time lines.

Extensions: This lesson should be given to the child at age 6. A good parallel exercise is for second to make a family tree and grandparent interview. Third can write an autobiography.


xThe Year 200_

...Golden bead, numeral cards, chains of 100, 1000 (2 each), first historical time line materials:
...Two thousand chains, two hundred chains, thousand cube, hundreds, units as needed. Math quantity symbols for the current year
...B. C. E./C.E. (B.C./ A.D) Time Line
...Arrow labeled "This year"
...Labels: "Before Common Era or Before Christ with B.C.E and B.C.on back
..."Common Era and Anno Domini" with C.E. or A.D. on back
...Cards with 1st - 21st on one side and I-XXI on the other.


1. "What year is this? 200_. "

A child gets the numeral cards and corresponding quantity in golden bead material. The quantity is counted. The cards are arranged and the numeral is read. "We want to represent this quantity in a line. For each one thousand cube, we can use a long chain of one thousand." The children lay the two chains out (perhaps in a field) and count to 2000 by decades and puts the arrow 'this year' at the correct point. "But this is too long. Let's try another way." A chain of 100 is laid out. "We'll let each bead represent 10 years." The child counts by 10's and 100's until reaching the end of the chain. "This chain now represents 1000. We'll put this cube at the end to remind us. Another 100 chain is placed out and the children count by 10's until they reach 1990-2000. They place an arrow there with the numerical cards of this year.

2. "Why do we call this 200_?

What happened 200_ years ago?
They may come up with suggestions--the earth was created, life began. "All of those things happened many, many years before this time. Throughout the world, there are different calendars that people use. Each people bases the beginning of their calendar with an important event. The calendar that we use in the Western world was based on when they thought Jesus was born". Place a flame or a star at the point of the year '1'. This is where our own calendar started. But there were many, many years before this time." Loose ten bars are laid out at the left side of the chain. "We could have many more ten bars because there are many, many years before Jesus was born. So many that these ten bars would go all the way through the school and out the door. The years before Jesus was born were called B.C. or Before Christ and the years from 0-present are called A.D. or Anno Domini, Latin for in the year of our Lord. Non-Christians call B.C. 'Before the Common Era or B.C.E.' and A.D. 'Common Era or C.E.'."

3. Layout with cards

Now the chains are replaced with the time line strips. The green which is labeled B.C.E and B.C. stands for hope. The red which is labeled C.E. and A.D. stands for love. The star or flame can be at the two century ones. "Now we need to find out where to put the 'this year' arrow on this time line.On this time line, instead of representing one year at a time like we did with the thousand chain and 10 years at a time (or decades) like the hundred chains, each unit on this time line will represent a century, or 100 years." The 1st card in red is put down,"This is the 1st century in the Common Era or A.D." Then the 1st card in green is put down. " This is the 1st century Before the Common Era or B.C." The child puts down 2nd century C.E. and 2nd Century B.C.E., etc. up to the 20th century C.E. and B.C.E. Both ends of the time line should be arrows to show that time goes on in each direction. "When we write the numerals for the centuries, we can use Roman Numerals". Turn the cards over and the Roman Numerals are printed on them. (Extension: There can be another whole lesson with craft sticks making the Roman Numerals) The cards are turned over and read again. Use three period lesson for any confusion of names.

Age: 7 years.

Aim : To orient the child to historical time lines and dates

Extensions for older children: study of other calendars


xThe Clock - Part I

...Clock with movable hands (it is helpful to be able to remove the hands), divisions for minutes, Metal insets 1/2 and 1/4. Rubber stamps of clock face without hands. Paper strips the length of the circumference of the clock. Two loose hands, hour and minute.


1. Introduction

"Think of all the kinds of clocks or watches there are. The kind of clock with hands is called a face clock. The clock is round like a face. But no matter what kind of clock we are looking at, it is still measuring the same hour and minute of the day in our own time zone. There are 24 hours in a day. 12 hours for day and 12 hours for night".

Look at the clock in front of you. Use the hour hand to count out the hours as it moves around the clock from 1-12. "But I told you there were 24 hours! The clock goes around 2 times to make a day." The hands are placed on the 12 to represent noon. "What hour does this arrow point to ? What happens at 12:00? Twelve o'clock is called 'noon' After 'noon' there are 12 hours more. At the next 12:00, it is the middle of the night, 'midnight'. There are 12 hours before noon and 12 hours afternoon. Noon usually represents the sun at its zenith, at the highest point of the day. (Noon comes from the Latin prefix non meaning nine. It is supposed to be nine hours from sunrise, which would be about 3:00).

2. The hours

"Let's see what time you do the things that are important to you. What time do you get up? 7:00? This is 7:00".(or the child sets the clock to the correct time)
The child makes a book of the things s/he does on a normal school day on the hour, and the time s/he does it.

3. The half-hours

"The day is divided into 24 hours but each hour is also divided into parts. There are 60 minutes in each hour. From 12:00 to 1:00 is sixty minutes. Each little mark on the clock represents a minute, or 60 seconds. People make telling time much easier by skip counting by 5's and by remembering how many minutes make a half. " Count by 5's to 30 and then place a half fraction inset down. This is twelve thirty or half past twelve. When it is half past twelve, the hour hand is halfway between the twelve and the 1. " Children can make a book of "Half pasts" with stamps.

4. Minutes

The hands show 3:00. How can I show 5 minutes after 3:00? I can count the little minutes.......or I can count by 5's like we did when we learned half past. 5 minutes past 3 is written 3:05. Children can make a book of one hour of minutes counting by 5's.

5. Quarters

Show a clock with example 8:15
Put the red 1/4 inset down to show 15 minutes past is 1/4 past the hour.
Therefore 8:15 is a quarter past 8.
Show a clock with 8:30 - remember half past 8?
Show a clock with 8:45 on the clock.
How many minutes have past? 45. There is one quarter to go to the next hour. This is called a quarter to 9.

Then you can teach 10 to the hour, 5 minutes to, etc.

Extensions: Use rubber stamp to make booklets of quarter to, quarter after, etc.


xHistory & Grammar - Three Fundamental Tenses

...A chart entitled Fundamental Tenses to be hung on the wall.

Description of chart: Below the title are three headings: Past, Present and Future with a red circle above each representing verbs beneath each. Below the circles is a single purple triangle representing pronoun. The rest of the chart consists of three lists of words corresponding to each title.


The use of each of the words is discussed in relation to a pronoun in the first person singular. "I ate yesterday. " That has already happened; it happened in the past. "I eat today." That is happening in the present. I will eat tomorrow. Tomorrow has not yet come. That will happen in the future. The three words Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow are written on the chart.

When adding new words, begin with the present, and figure out the past and future in relation to the present. Some suggestions:

before now afterwards or then
last year this year next year
the seed the plant the fruit
1991 1992 1993


Extensions: Make a group of cards for children to work with :
Make a chart with time line with a pronoun sitting in the middle. This represents "I" in the present. The child can work with the cards using a verb symbol to move up or down on the time line symbolizing past, present, future. 3 control charts show the verb and pronoun in the past, present and future.

ran run will run
loved love will love
ate eat will eat

Age: 7

Aim: To learn the three fundamental tenses.

Note: This chart is presented parallel to the next materials in history.



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