Timelines/Circle or Pie Charts

Back to
40 Best-practices
Instructional Strategies
Background: Circle charts, pie graphs, and timelines are graphic organizers that help students sequence events described in a text. As students study the chart, they identify patterns or trends revealed by the sequence of events.

Procedures: When students read information that is organized chronologically, create a timeline that lists and describes the events from beginning to end. For texts that describe a cycle of events, invite students to create a pie chart. Use the completed chart to generate discussions and activities that invite students to analyze the data.

Examples: From Caterpillar to Butterfly: Students create a timeline that lists and describes each phase of the caterpillar’s metamorphosis. Journey South/Journey North: Create a circle chart that describes the “Round Trips” made by migratory species. Divide a circle into 12 sections (each month of the year). Within the sections of the circle graph, invite students to plot the places the animals are found during each month.

1. Parallel Timelines: Use migratory data from previous years to create multiple timelines. Invite students to identify similarities and differences as they explore the timelines that chart many migratory seasons.
2. Circles of Life: Invite students to create circle charts for more than one species. Have them compare the life cycles of various species by identifying similarities and differences.

Reading Strategies: Identify Main Ideas and Details, Sequence Events, Summarize Main Ideas and Details, Synthesize Information, Make Connections