teaching resource

Build a Timeline - Puzzle Set

Teach Starter Publishing
Google Slide, PDF | 10 pages | Grades: K - 2

Practice building a timeline using given events with this set of 3 puzzles.

Interpreting and constructing timelines enhances your students’ comprehension of the order of given events. It also helps them know whether specific events deserve any emphasis based on their importance within history and literature. Understanding timelines will even come in handy later when students start organizing their own days! 

Have Fun while Learning About Timelines

Add this timeline activity to your centers, use it with your social studies group, or with your whole class (see below) to practice building a timeline using given events.


  • 3 Timeline Title Cards
  • 21 event cards
  • 3 18” pieces of string (not included)

Divide your class into 3 groups. Lay each string horizontally on a desk or the floor with each set of timeline cards near it to create a station. The string will act as the timeline on which students will place their event cards. At each station, students will find the title card and place it above the string. Students will read each event card and place them on the timeline from the first event to the last event. Have the groups raise their hand when they have completed their timeline for a check. 

When all of the groups have finished, have them shuffle the cards and place everything inside the bag. The groups then rotate to the next timeline puzzle until each has completed all 3 timelines. 

Scaffolding and Extension Tips + More Uses for This Timeline Activity

This resource can be used as independent practice for fast finishers, and for full-class learning opportunities like scoot activities, lesson reviews, comprehension assessments, and more.

Challenge students who are already proficient with basic timelines to create and add more events (including time or date information) to the timeline puzzle set. Or they can create their own timeline puzzle. 

The collaborative nature of this activity allows students to contribute at their proficiency level. Purposeful grouping can be used to provide struggling students with needed support.

Odd Man Out

Place 3 cards at each station, making sure 2 of the cards fit on one timeline and the 3rd card is different. Student pairs will rotate through each station and identify the card that is different, writing their answers on a separate sheet of paper.  

Create a Story

Keep this activity going longer by asking students to write sentences for each event on the timeline, or a full paragraph that features the entire series of events. Have students share their writing with each other or even create a collaborative story with elements from each others’ timeline descriptions. 

Turn & Talk 

Invite students to pair up with someone in the seat nearest to them for a 5-minute Turn & Talk. Students can pick a specific timeline and discuss how their personal experiences are similar or different from each other. For example, they can discuss their morning and bedtime routines, or the different foods they eat at breakfast and dinner. They can compare the activities and hobbies they do after school, or how they get to and from school. They can list places they’ve gone on vacation, and which of the same places or relatives they’ve gone to see. 

Easily Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Print on cardstock for added durability and longevity. 

After cutting out the pieces, place each puzzle set (1 title card and 7 event cards) and an 18” piece of string into its own resealable bag, envelope, or another container. Give each group, pair, or student a puzzle set bag to build the timeline on their desk or the floor.

Before You Download

Use the drop-down icon on the Download button to choose between the PDF or Google Slides version of this resource. 3 answer keys are also included with this download.

This resource was created by Emma L. Welton, a teacher in Colorado and a Teach Starter Collaborator. 


Make ordering events a fun activity for your students with these resources:

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