US History Printable Timeline Activities

If you teach US History in middle school or high school, you how how important timelines are. They organize events in a simple visual way, help students see cause and effect, and are perfect for showing students all the key events that students need to know in any unit. 

I teach ALL of American History, from the Colonies through to Modern America and include printable timeline worksheets in the packets I give students for each unit we cover. 

When you do cover so much content in a year, timelines become essential. We often don't have that much time to spend on any one unit. That's why the packets become very effective at showing students exactly what they need to know. The printable timeline pages are perfect for giving students a chance to see each significant event in that. 

I make them very simple to use. The timelines are included in a PDF file and a Google Doc. I print out the PDF file of the entire packet at the start of each unit and give them to each student. They are responsible for completing the packet as we progress through the unit. 

If they prefer a Google Doc, I give them the option to use that version. It's the same content and activities either way. Often, I find students prefer the packet. If any student loses his or her packet, then they have to use the Google Doc version. 

The Google Doc versions are also beneficial in that they include links students can click on to learn more about each event. This makes them an incredible resource if you don't have textbooks or materials students can use to research each event. 

While the timeline page maybe be the most helpful for students to understand how each event influenced the other in a unit, it's just one of 9 pages that students need to complete. 

Additional pages of activities in the PDF and Google Doc are on: 

  • Vocabulary
  • Geography
  • Important People to Know
  • Primary source excerpts
  • Image analysis

So, in addition to the timeline, students get to work on all aspects of the unit and come away with a well-rounded understanding of the people, places, events, and key concepts that they need to know. 

When I started using this strategy, my students' test scores immediately jumped several points on average. They better understood the difficult concepts, could process that understanding, and then demonstrated it on their assessments. 

I also use additional timeline activities in class, (like this one on the American Revolution) when the events we are looking at are particularly important.

We might also use a station rotation activity in class, where students have to read about significant events from that unit in US History and add them to a timeline or graphic organizer. In this Civil Rights Movement timeline activity, students go through 10 readings at stations or in groups and create an interactive timeline. 

You can select and download any unit guide packet here which will include both the printable and Google Doc versions of the timelines. Or you could snag all 18 unit guide packets in one bundled download here

Another option is to sign up for a subscription to US History here at Students of History. Joining gives you immediate access to ALL of the packets, timelines, and Google Docs plus HUNDREDS of engaging lesson plans.

Every day throughout the entire year is fully planned out for you with warm ups, videos, projects, worksheets, and more. You'll never have to stress about a lesson plan again! 

Thanks so much for checking this out! 

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