Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

1948 Timeline
Carol Ann Lawler
American History
Time Frame:
The amount of time given to students to complete this project can very depending on the amount of information you will require and whether all the work will be done during class time or some of it will be given for homework. I would suggest between 5 and
Civil Rights
Recognition Of Israel
1948 Election
Berlin Airlift

Grade Levels:
7, 8

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

Cooperative Learning Assignment: For this project the students will create a timeline for the year highlighting events in national and international, art, literature, entertainment, music, science, inventions, sports, fashion, and economics.


1948 was a year that was a turning point for the United States and the World. 

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:


Missouri Standards

2. Continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world

6. Relationships of the individual and groups to institutions and cultural traditions

7. The use of tools of social science inquiry (such as surveys, statistics, maps, documents)


Kansas Standards

Benchmark 3: The student uses a working knowledge and understanding of individuals, groups, ideas, developments, and turning points in the era of the Cold War (1945-1990).

1. (K) explains why the United States emerged as a superpower as the result of World War II.

2.(A) analyzes the origins of the Cold War (e.g., establishment of the Soviet Bloc, Mao’s victory in China, Marshall Plan, Berlin Blockade, Iron Curtain).

3. (A) evaluates the foreign policies of Truman and Eisenhower during the Cold War (e.g., establishment of the United Nations, containment, NATO, Truman Doctrine, Berlin Blockade, Korean War, Iron Curtain, U-2 incident).

Benchmark 5: The student engages in historical thinking skills.

1. (A) analyzes a theme in United States history to explain patterns of continuity and change over time.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:


Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:


Technology Required:

Materials needed:

  • Rolls of different colored paper or poster board for the timeline
  • Access to library and computer facilities for research
  • Paints, markers, colored pencils, rulers, glue, and scissors
  • Access to copy machines (color if possible)
  • Drawing paper and colored construction paper

Full description of activity or assignment.

The class, depending on the size, will have cooperative teams of two to three people, and these groups (depending on how many groups there are) will be assigned one, two, or three months of 1948.  The class as a whole will decide a theme for their timeline, and this will be the background for the year.  As an example, the Berlin Airlift would be the background and the months could be planes that they would use to record their information on.  Each class would use a different theme. (Themes could also be broken down to individual months or groups.)  Graphics for the timeline would/could include photographs, pictures, and student drawings of the events as well as the written or printed information.

The major events of 1948, such as the airlift, the creation of Israel, milestones in desegregation, and the presidential election would be major research topics for the project and would have extensive highlights for the timeline.  

When finished, the months would be fastened together or may be just placed next to each other and displayed on the classroom walls or in the hall outside of the classroom.

The information you require can be adjusted to how much or how little information you will require and the same directions can apply for the visual applications.


Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:

Since it is a group project, I would also recommend that part of the student’s grade should be a peer evaluation.  Points can be given for each part of the project.

Scoring Guide:  Project name



Criteria to be



Quite Nice

Getting by

Not very


Work Diligently:

Carefully read directions and followed activity

Used class time wisely asked for help when needed


Contains ALL of the required elements and information

Contains most of the required elements and information 1-2 required pieces missing

Contains some of the requited information 3-4

Required pieces missing

Contains very little of the required information

Product Quality: Effort was made to make product neat, looks completed, and has a nice general finished appearance.

Product clearly shows that effort was made toward a nice general appearance and completed according to directions.

Product shows some effort was made toward a nice general appearance and completed according to directions.  Just needs a few touch ups.

Product looks as though parts of it were thrown together at the last minute and some directions were not completed as directed.

Product still requires quite a bit of work, just doesn’t look finished.  Looks thrown together in a hurry, and directions nave not been followed

Demonstrates high standard of achievement and has exceeded the requirements of the activity

Product clearly exceeds the requirements of the activity Fantastic

Product met the requirements of the activity

Product met few of the requirements of the activity

Product did not meet the requirements of the activity

Correct CUPS when applicable

Contains no spelling, grammar and punctuation errors

Contains 0-2 spelling, grammar, punctuation errors

Contains 3-4 spelling, grammar, punctuation errors

Contains more than 5 spelling, grammar, punctuation errors


Completed on time              YES                                        NO