This Comparative Timeline Project is a great supplemental activity to a traditional history classroom, but can also serve as an anchor for a history classroom with a thematic approach. In both situations, it gives students a chance to apply what they have learned in a visual way that helps them comprehend time and historical context that can be difficult to do in a traditional classroom.
A Traditional Timeline Vs. A Comparative Timeline
When creating a traditional timeline, one is putting things in order. With history, this is typically based upon when certain events took place. A comparative timeline still has events put in chronological order, however, it can compare multiple themes or ideas all at once. If you are structuring your history class by theme, students can plot events based upon category, such as war, migration, or civil rights. Here is a student sample.
This free product includes a teacher guide with samples of comparative timelines, tips to set-up a comparative timeline, and a student handout that can be used to help your students create their comparative timeline.