What Year Did That Happen?

Middle School and High School Teacher

Students will research several historic events in history concentrating on the years they occurred and attempt to create pneumonic devices to help match the correct year to the event.

Grade Level: 7 - 9th

Subject: Social Studies

Length of Time: About 45 - 90 Minutes

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Objectives & Outcomes

The students will be able to research historical events, identify the years the events took place, and attempt develop pneumonic devices to assist themselves and others in remembering the information.  The students will develop and use effective communication to present the information to the class.

Materials Needed

  • Access to Internet or other resources
  • Poster board
  • Power Point access, or other mediums to present information

Prepare ahead of time:  Slips of paper totaling seven times (students will only be required to research 5 of the years) the number of students in the classroom, each slip showing a different year to research, an example of an historical event/year which can be recalled using a pneumonic device


Opening to Lesson

  • Ask the question: How do you recall the year an event may have happened in your life?
  • Allow students to respond giving their examples of the events and years
  • Remind students how helpful it is to have pneumonic devices to recall information (such as spelling the word arithmetic – A rat in Tom’s house might eat Tom’s ice cream.)

Body of Lesson


  • Teacher will display the example year chosen ahead of time
  • Ask students if they know of any important events occurring during that particular year
  • Ask students if they simply know about the event, or if they have a way that helps them recall the information
  • Tell students that nearly every year and event can be recalled by using pneumonic devices
  • Refer back to the example and connect the year with the event using the pneumonic device

Guided Practice

  • Show students the container with the slips of paper/years in inside
  • Have each student randomly choose seven different years
  • Tell students they must choose five of the years and research a different historical or important event occurring in each of the five years
  • Explain to the students to create a pneumonic device that will assist themselves and others in remembering the event and year
  • Once all five events and years have been researched, the students will then create a method to present the information to the class
  • The students may use Power Point displays, display boards, or other methods to present the information to the class
  • Encourage students to also add minor events which may have occurred during the researched years
  • Allow all or some of the students a chance to present the information to the class

Independent Practice

  • The teacher will create a quiz or test based on the information presented to the class, testing some of the pneumonic devices to find out whether it helped students recall the events


Randomly call out some of the years the students researched and call on students to identify an event from the year.

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Assessment & Evaluation

The teacher will use the information presented to the class and create a quiz or test to check for understanding.  Rubric for student’s presentations to the class.

Modification & Differentiation

Students may work in pairs.  Students given more or less than five years to research.  Give the event instead of the year, working the process backwards.  No presentation but an extensive report for each event/year with each pneumonic device explained in writing.

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