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Lesson 1

Meeting National Standards Objectives (grades 5-12)


Standard I: Chronological Thinking
Establish a sense of chronology - when events occurred and in what temporal order. Students will construct a time-line and analyze and interpret data presented in the time-line.
Learning Objectives:
  1. Students will gain an understanding of the sequence of events during the eight years of TR's administration over a variety of issues.
  2. Students accustomed to Newtonian linear thinking will create a visual tool for understanding how a leader must deal with a variety of complex issues simultaneously.
  3. Students develop skills in working forward through development to outcome or backward from conclusion of an issue to explain its origins and development over time.

One of the great challenges in teaching history is helping students to developchronological thinking - when and in what order events occurred. Time-lines are useful tools for helping students grasp the flow of history.* The exercise of creating a time-line often enables visual learners to remember dates or the order of events. A second challenge in regard to chronological thinking is helping students to understand that the history that appears to flow in a convenient linear pattern was, in reality, more chaotic. The events of September 11, 2001 demonstrate the unpredictability of life and events. Developing skills in chronological thinking must therefore also include development of flexible strategies to meet unpredictable, multiple challenges. This skill is particularly important for leaders. Using TR as a test case, students will explore how a leader balances a myriad of challenges and issues as he works to achieve his vision for the nation.

(*Note: While creation of a time-line is an obvious learning tool for the study of history, it can likewise be helpful to students as a visual tool for understanding progress, trends, and movements in literature, science, math, art, and other subjects).

Lesson 1 Activities:

Create a Presidential Time Line:
Using theChronology available on the TR website as a resource, students create a time-line for TR's presidential years. Students may use colored pencils to mark and identify significant events in the following areas:

Anti-trust efforts(blue) International Relations(orange)
Conservation(green) Labor Issues(yellow)
Consumerism(red) The Military(black)


Part of the challenge in completing this exercise is student determination of which events or issues to include in the time-line.

Creating a Topic Time Line:
This exercise demonstrates how leaders deal with multiple issues simultaneously. Divide students into teams and ask each team to develop an issue-specific time-line based on one of the topics listed above. Using the TRA website, textbooks, encyclopedias, etc., students on each team select the critical dates/issues/achievements for inclusion on their particulartopic time-line. When all time-lines are completed, place them side by side to demonstrate to students the difficult role of leaders in dealing with many issues simultaneously and pulling these diverse issues together into a unified and attainable national vision.

Reverse Event Analysis:
In 1914, the Panama Canal opened to inter-oceanic traffic, completing a centuries old dream of a path between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. TR considered the canal one of the triumphs of his administration. Using the Internet, historical narratives such as David McCullough'sThe Path Between the Seas, and other resources, ask students to work backwards from the canal's opening to explain the canal's development and origins (including the French efforts, 1880-1889). The report may be accompanied by a time-line showing significant people and events in the canal's history.


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