Timeline Of My Life
|Level: Beginner||Duration: 1-3 class periods|
|Grade Level: Middle School (ages 12+)||Author: LEGO Education|
|Topics: Designing using wheels and axles, exploration of creativity in design, investigation of historical events, enhancing oral communication skills|
|Materials: Simple and Motorized Mechanisms Base Set, Simple and Motorized Mechanisms Base Set, pencils, paper, tape, markers|
Create a timeline of a student’s life, birth to today. Investigate historical events, pop culture, world leaders, and more to create a moving timeline of a student’s life displayed on a LEGO built screen.
Do you know who won the Oscar for Best Actor the year you were born? How about who was President of the United States when you were in Kindergarten? With a bit of research and creativity you can create your own LEGO Timeline! Using basic LEGO bricks and a few Technic elements, students build a screen that holds rolled paper at either end. As the paper is rolled from one side to the other, a student can write down information in chronological order that has happened in their lifetime. The end result is a LEGO Timeline Of Your Life!
Day 1: Building the Timeline Machine
1. Dividing into groups of two, students must build a timeline machine from the elements found
in the Simple and Motorized Mechanisms Set. While the designs can vary, the following
a. The display area for the timeline machine can be no bigger than approximately 8.5
inches in height and 6 inches in width.
b. Each end of the machine must include a moving axle that a student’s timeline can be
attached to. (Students will tape blank paper together end to end to create their
c. A handle is to be used to move the timeline canvas from one side to the other.
2. Once the machine is built, student need to build their timeline canvas. Using standard copy
paper (8.5 x 11) students should tape 4 sheets together end to end. The final length of the
paper will be 8.5 x 44.
Day 2: Write Your Timeline
1. The age of your students will determine the detail of this aspect of the activity. Students
should note important events that impacted their generation or society as a whole in their
timeline. Some students may focus on music, others sports while a few decide to track local
and national events.
Day 3: Present Your Timeline
1. Did all timeline machines meet the above criteria? If not, what was lacking?
2. What were some of the designs that worked best? How did stability factor into the design?
3. How did the students overcome the challenge of creating a timeline machine that was taller
than the elements they were given to build it? (Example: Did they tape their timelines to
axles? Did they build a holder for the paper and insert an axle to move it?)
- Instead of using a student’s own life as the focus of a timeline, write down individuals from American history students can select from and develop a timeline about. Famous Actors, Historians, Musicians, Political Leaders, and Sports Figures would be excellent choices.
- The students have now created a timeline that runs manually, but can they make it automatic? Challenge the students to modify their designs so that the timeline canvas is operated by a motor.