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Time Capsule

Main Core Tie

Social Studies - 1st Grade
Standard 2 Objective 3

Additional Core Ties

Social Studies - 1st Grade
Standard 3 Objective 2


Utah LessonPlans


Students will learn to compare and contrast changes over time.




Additional Resources


  • An Egg is An Egg, by Nicki Wiess; ISBN 0021811091


  • Social Studies and The Young Learner, Volume 15, Issue #4, "Eight Ways of Learning: Multiple Intelligence Strategies"
  • Educational Leadership, September 97, " Variations on a Theme: How Teachers Interpret MI Theory"

Background for Teachers

This lesson allows students to collect data in the fall and again in the spring. Students use the data collected in both seasons to compare and contrast changes over time. Students need an understanding of the five senses.

Intended Learning Outcomes

5. Understand and use basic concepts and skills.
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.

Instructional Procedures

Invitation to Learn
Ask the class what they think it means for something to change. Brainstorm many different examples of change. Prepare them to listen as you read An Egg is An Egg by asking them to look and listen for changes they notice in the story. Read the story and discuss all the changes they observed.

Instructional Procedures

  1. Show the class a box that will act as a time capsule. Explain that, as a class, you are going to be using a time capsule to observe changes that take place during first grade. Changes may be individual or in the community.
  2. Collect data on each student by having them complete A 1st Grader’s Profile, which will then be placed in the time capsule.
  3. Collect data from around the school by taking the class for a walk inside the school. Students look for characteristics of the school. Upon returning to the class, students draw pictures of what they observed and write a sentence describing the pictures. On this writing piece, there should be as little teacher instruction as possible. This particular piece will be used to compare how much students have developed as writers by the end of the year. Once completed, place the writing samples inside the time capsule.
  4. Go on a walking fieldtrip around the outside of the school and community. Students write what they see, hear, smell, and feel.

Sight—Students draw pictures of what they see, or take a camera to take pictures.
Sound—Students write down what they hear, or take a small tape recorder and record the sounds.
Smell—Make a list of things they smell.
Touch—Have students feel several things in nature, such as leaves, trees bark, grass, etc., and record what they touched and how it felt.

Place all of the data from your walking fieldtrip in the time capsule.

  1. In the spring, repeat steps 2, 3, and 4. Explain to the class that they will be doing some of the same activities they did at the beginning of the year. Remind them to look for how things have changed.
  2. Open the time capsule and compare and contrast the data collected. The following questions may help you in leading a discussion as to what was found. What changed? How did it change? What did not change? Why?


  • In the fall, graph the class data compiled on A 1st Grader’s Profile. Use different graphs for each question. Record the information from those graphs, or take pictures of what you found, and place them in the time capsule.
  • In the spring place the students in small groups. After copying the student’s A 1st Grader’s Profile, cut up each profile and divide the strips of paper by question. Give each group a stack of common questions. Have each group graph their assigned question, using the graphing format assigned (e.g., bar graph, picture graph, tally mark, clothes pin, paper doll, etc.). Compare their graphs to the class graphs you did in the fall.
  • As a class interactively write about the students’ observation from the class walk. Encourage students to write independently about one other observation you did not write about as a class. Place both writing samples in the time capsule.
  • During the walking field trip around the school or community, focus in on a tree that changes with the seasons. Have students draw a picture of that tree or take a picture of it to compare and contrast the seasons.
  • When the time capsule is opened in the spring, students write about the changes observed using the five senses as a guide. This helps students write descriptively about changes that took place.
  • Make the needed adaptations for special needs within your class. Small groups may be assigned to a sense to investigate changes.

Family Connections

  • Students collect data, put it in a family time capsule, and compare changes in the spring.
  • Interview a parent or grandparent about their school experience. If the parent or grandparent grew up in the same community, they could share some long-term changes they have seen over the years. This would be great to do in the spring to show the students that even though there were not a lot of changes in the school in one year, changes can take place over a longer period of time.

Assessment Plan

  • Discuss changes students observed. Let each student share a change s/he observed.
  • Have each student draw a picture of a change s/he observed and write about the changes.


Research Basis

Gardner, H., & Walters, J. (1993). Multiple Intelligences: The Theory In Practice. (New York: Basic Books)

This research states that children learn through eight different intelligences. By using these intelligences, a child’s strongest learning style can be accessed. Given many opportunities, students will develop weaker intelligences.

Gallavan, N.P., Putney, L.G., & Brantley, D. (2002). The Influences of Modeling: Gaining the Competence and Confidence To Teach. Social Studies and The Young Learner. 14(3), 28-30.

This research indicates that effective teachers integrate social studies across the curriculum, thus helping all learning to blend together.

Created: 09/20/2005
Updated: 02/04/2018