The Timeline Game

Constructing Historical Narratives in History Survey Courses




Timelines, active learning, Effective teaching strategies, Game-based learning, Historical argumentation, Historical thinking


What events get included in historical narratives? Which ones get left out? Why? How might we encourage students to consider and debate these decisions while simultaneously making arguments about causation, the politics of knowledge production, power, and perspective? This article explores the use of a “timeline game” to help students articulate and develop historical argumentation skills. Students’ main objective in the game is to convince their classmates to vote for their groups’ chosen events, nominating them onto a “Final Timeline,” which includes the most “significant” events of the course’s history. Students argue for the significance of their chosen events in various ways including (but not limited to): articulating how it caused other events, how it represented important course themes, how it challenged dominant Eurocentric narratives, or how it shed light on a perspective otherwise obscured or hidden by the timeline’s main events thus far. Though designed for college-level African and Global history survey courses, the game could be adapted for a number of different classroom contexts and grade levels.


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How to Cite

Monroe, Caitlin. 2023. “The Timeline Game: Constructing Historical Narratives in History Survey Courses”. Teaching History: A Journal of Methods 48 (1):125-33.

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