How Historians Organize Time and the Timeline with Eras & Periods - mini-unit

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This guided inquiry begins with song lyrics to an Eduparody of Chris Daughtry’s Home (the song is included as an MP3 attachment). There are fill in the blank reading activities that make for a quick and easy read-aloud activity and become the foundational information students will use to answer questions about how and why historians organize the human timeline the way they do.

The worksheets will explore the traditional breakdown of eras and periods and also investigate how the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Furthermore, students will study the difference between what historians consider prehistory and ancient history and the source of that division.

The Human Timeline: This guided inquiry prompts students to explore how the secular and Christian timeline are virtually the same except that the labels have changed. It also highlights the key reasons for the change of BC and AD to BCE and CE as stemming from political correctness and the desire to not offend non-Christians.

Students will compare and contrast the two timelines and answer questions to figure out how the timelines function and how the numbers change depending on where an event or person is situated in time.

Students will read and analyze short excerpts from the Telegraph and two from BBC articles that highlight why this change was made by professionals and how both dating styles still find their way into academic work.


All Social Studies Simplified guided inquiry and reading comprehension worksheets encourage students to use critical thinking strategies to figure out the meaning to terms and concepts by analyzing texts, stats, infographics, maps and pictures.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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Teaching Duration
2 Weeks

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How Historians Organize Time and the Timeline with Eras &
How Historians Organize Time and the Timeline with Eras &
How Historians Organize Time and the Timeline with Eras &
How Historians Organize Time and the Timeline with Eras &