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Creating Historical Sources

15-20 Minutes

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  • Make a draft of your “Timeline of Events” to serve as a primary source for a selected span of time

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We’re thinking about the question: How can we create a historical record of important events?

Your challenge this week is to create a “Timeline of Events” as a primary source to represent important events from a selected span of time.

Let's Get Started!

Do you remember last year’s winter? 

What about the year before? 

If you have trouble remembering, what primary sources could you look at to help you?


Your challenge this week is to create a “Timeline of Events” as a primary source to represent important events from a selected span of time. Today, you will make a draft of your timeline.


Look back on your list from yesterday.

  • What is the span of time you have chosen to represent?

  • Have you marked the order of your events?

  • Do you need to add any events?


Think about your goals. Your timeline should show:

  • Events from a certain time period that are important to you

  • The chronological order of the events

  • Symbols to represent the events

  • A title that tells what the timeline is about


Draw your timeline!

  • Record your events in order by drawing a symbol to represent each one and adding a label if needed.

  • Will you use a straight line, a curvy line, or boxes? It’s up to you!

  • You can use a piece of paper or the “Timeline Template” handout if you like.

Remember to save your draft! You’ll use it to create your final “Timeline of Events.”


Read “The Lakota Winter Count” article from Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center.

While you read, think about these questions:

  • Why are winter counts important to the Lakota?

  • What can we learn from historical sources like a winter count?

  • What makes a winter count a type of timeline?

Ready for Day 3?

On day 3, you will improve the draft of your “Timeline of Events.”



This timeline shows important events from someone’s entire life so far.

The events are in order, and the space between events represents the time between events.

What are the most important events from your life?



This timeline represents each year of someone’s life so far. Like a winter count, it uses symbols to represent events each year.

Each section is the same size, and the space between events is the same.

What symbol would represent this year for you? What about last year?

Let’s look at some examples of timelines that represent different spans of time in different ways.



This is a close-up view of an image showing a Kiowa winter count. Kiowa winter counts typically showed two symbols for each year: one in the summer and one in the winter.

  • See: What observations can you make about this image?

  • Think: What do you think this means? What evidence makes you think that?

  • Wonder: What do you wonder about this?



This timeline shows important events from this past year so far, starting in August and ending in May.

It shows the important events in someone’s life over a span of 10 months.

What events from this year were important to you? Do you recognize any events?

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