Title: Time Marches On

Author: Mary Lind

Big Ideas: Change Over Time

Essential Question: How do families and communities change over time?



Social Studies


SS.1.H.CL1.1 utilize primary source documents and oral accounts to investigate ways communities change throughout history.


SS.1.H.CL1.3 explore the history of the community and give examples of locally significant sites and people.


English Language Arts


ELA.1.R.C1.1 ask and answer questions about key details in a literary text. (CCSS RL.1.1)


ELA.1.R.C3.1 use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events in literary texts. (CCSS RL.1.7)


ELA.1.SL.C13.1 participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

  • follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
  • build on others’ talk in conversations by responding to the comments of others through multiple exchanges.
  • ask questions to clear up any confusion about the topics and texts under discussion. (CCSS SL.1.1)

ELA.1.SL.C13.2 ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media. (CCSS SL.1.2)


ELA.1.SL.C13.3 ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood. (CCSS SL.1.3)


ELA.1.SL.C14.1 describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly. (CCSS SL.1.4)

Part 1: Generations

Academic Vocabulary: family, generations, community, historian, artifacts, interview


Read the book When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant. Have students discuss how the child’s life in the story was similar or different than their own. Explain that these differences are a result of the passage of time. Using primary sources, have students compare and contrast what they see in photographs of schools and school children from the past and how it compares to their current experiences. Have students note what is the same and different. Explain that families and communities change over time.


Introduce the word interview, one of the targeted vocabulary words for this lesson. Children will be conducting interviews with parents and/or grandparents to discover the ways that individuals, families, and communities change over time. Distribute and discuss the Interview Questions document (included). Have students practice conducting interviews with classmates to gain experience with the process. Tell students to ask their parents or another adult to help them conduct the interviews with a grandparent and a parent.


After students conduct their interviews, distribute copies of the paper available here. Assist students as they write a short sentence from each interview and a second sentence to compare the information about the lives of the interviewees and their personal lives. Students will illustrate each sentence on the correct sides of the paper. Help students assemble their books based on the format of the book the teacher selects. Provide an opportunity for students to share their books with their peers.

Part 2: Our Changing Communities

Activity 1: Read the book The Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall to students. Ask them if the story takes place in the past or present and how they know when it takes place. Have students use evidence from the text to support their answers. Use one side of a T-chart to list evidence they locate that proves when the story takes place. Use the other side of the T-chart to compare what it would look like in the present. Point out to students that they have been working as historians while they located evidence, or clues, to prove that a story took place in the past.


In order to provide additional exposure to the text and concepts included in the story, show the Reading Rainbow episode about The Ox-Cart Man. Pause the video from time to time and ask students to point out things that occurred in the past but are different today. Record their findings on chart paper.


Activity 2: Locate pictures from your community’s past. Historical photos from the various counties are available at the West Virginia State Archives using this link or use the ones included. Include a picture of a family from the past from the photo gallery. Have students work as historians to analyze the photographs and locate ways that their community and/or the family are different from their community and/or a family of today. Display three large charts labeled “People,” “Events,” and “Other Information,” and record the information students discover. Working in small groups of two or three, give several photographs depicting the past in their county/community. Have them explore the photographs and as a group investigate the story these photos tell them about the history of their local community. Have each group choose one picture and share with the class what the picture shows about the community, when the picture was taken, and how the community has changed from then to now.

Images: West Virginia State Archives

Notes to Instructor

Prior to starting this activity, organize materials for the book students will be making. Make copies of the drawing/story paper so all students can have at least two sheets for their individual books. Cardstock cut to size and construction paper and art supplies including crayons and glue should be assembled for student use. Directions for a variety of folded books are available on Teach 21.

Links and Other Resources

Discovery Room 4: This room in the West Virginia State Museum contains photographs and artifacts from the past that could be used in place of the photographs if visiting the museum. The frontier cabin setting focuses on living on the frontier, the craftsmanship of pioneers, and the mineral springs - the region's first tourism.


Discovery Room 9: This room in the West Virginia State Museum contains photographs and artifacts from the past that could be used in place of the photographs if visiting the museum. This exhibit focuses on the immigrants to Helvetia - a Swiss farming community settled in Randolph County in 1869 - and agriculture. One label also refers to 4-H and Home Demonstration Clubs.


Photo Gallery: This link includes historical photographs from each county in the state.


Collection of artifacts: This collection is available online for viewing and includes items from the early 1900s.

Student Materials

When I Was Young in the Mountain, Cynthia Rylant


The Ox-Cart Man, Donald Hall


Copies of story paper


Past/present photographs of families and communities - Students will need to bring in pictures of themselves and their families







Related Websites