Learn with Timelines

Timelines organize information over time

The most simple timeline is a list of events from the earliest to the most recent. Timelines can be used to organize and understand the past or to organize what you need to do in the future.

A Very Simple Timeline for organizing your future

In this example, you see how you might show how to prepare to write a report or term paper.  This student has decided to spread the work over 4 weeks. You might use a longer or  shorter time.

Timeline shows work to be done for each of four weeks for term paper

Notice that each week takes up the same amount of space. People often write a list of events and think it is a  timeline.  A list show the order of events but it does not  give you a sense of the time involved.

Below is a timeline of Barack Obama. Notice that instead of weeks, it is numbered by dates. The space used above for one week are similar to spaces below to indicate five years. It also includes much more information.  Here, you will also see that his life has been divided into sections based on where he lived… and where he lived is closely related to the work he was doing.

Timeline Barack ObamaA complex timeline on a single topic

Michael Haggstrom’s excllent timeline describes pregnancy. As you would expect, the timeline is divided into nine equal months. He could have included only one kind of information and it would be a simple timeline.

He went on to show the weeks, showing the trimesters on one line and the change from an embryo to a fetus on another. It would take a much larger timeline to describe times when each organ develops, when the heartbeat can be heard. He does include viability, the approximate timed when the baby might be able to survive.

This timeline is both informative and interesting to study. I like his use of color, especially the difference between clear separation as between preterm, term, and post term. Elsewhere, his boundaries are sometimes are fuzzy because it isn’t always clear.

The Prenatal Development Timelinea timeline of prenatal stages

What is a multiple timeline?

A multiple timeline is simply two or more timelines using the same time scale, shown one directly above the other for comparison. In one sense, the prenatal timeline could be considered a multiple timeline. It shows several different kind of information on a single timeline.

A multiple timeline can lead to an ourstanding research paper. You might show a history of science (briefly) in the past 50 years, and the history of technology.  You might use it to write about ways basic scientific research affect the development of recent technology.

You could compare major political events in the world to literature or psychology or art.

Example of a really amazing timeline

From the Big Bang to Today: This video timeline includes astronomy, chemistry, physics, and evolution. Like the geology timeline above, it starts with large time periods, and the periods are expanded as we get closer to current time.  It would be best seen on a large screen.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmy7QdmxYuI

How to create a simple Timeline

Multiple Timelines

How Books Changed My Life: an example of complex material organized in a Timeline


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