Lesson 1.6: Parallel Timelines Tell Stories from Multiple Perspectives and Different Scales
• The students will follow historical developments on various themes in chronological sequence.
• They will make observations about the scale of time between “stories” on the timelines (i.e. compressed or spaced out over centuries or millennia or millions of years).
• They will assess the predominance of continuity and change as a result of various types of historical developments
• They will construct historical narratives by selecting events of importance in different thematic areas.
• They will compare developments within and beyond the Mediterranean region.
• They will assess the significance of events and developments in and beyond the Mediterranean region and identify important linkages.
1. Tiki-toki timelines on Environment, Migration, Politics and Technology in the Mediterranean (The timelines use a program called Tiki-Toki at tiki-toki.com. The free Tiki-Toki Viewer can be downloaded CURRENTLY FOR THE MAC ONLY, but check back to see if a promised PC version is available at tiki-toki.com. Download the free viewer at this site at http://mediterraneansharedpast.org/timelines/product-viewer.zip. The four timelines can be downloaded at Environmental History at http://mediterraneansharedpast.org/timelines/OSPMMediterraneanEnviro-HistoryTimeline.tki ; Migration at http://mediterraneansharedpast.org/timelines/OSPMMediterraneanMigrationTimeline.tki ; Political History at http://mediterraneansharedpast.org/timelines/OSPMMediterraneanPoliticalHistoryTimeline.tki ; Technology at http://mediterraneansharedpast.org/timelines/OSPMMediterraneanTechnologyTimeline.tki. )
2. Printouts or device for projecting or individual viewing of timelines. (Download free timeline viewer at http://www.tiki-toki.com/desktopapp/ or from this site at http://mediterraneansharedpast.org/timelines/product-viewer.zip)
3. Colored adhesive notes, index cards, or white cards and highlighters for color-coding. Time 1-2 class periods and/or parts as an assigned project. This lesson may also be used periodically with Modules 1-6, or to introduce each module or larger units of study in the course, and/or for review late in the unit or course
Lesson Plan Text
1. Access the four Tiki-toki Timelines on environmental, migration, political and technological history in the Mediterranean region. (Download free timeline viewer at http://www.tiki-toki.com/desktopapp/ or from this site at http://mediterraneansharedpast.org/timelines/product-viewer.zip. (NOTE: teachers and students can create an account at www.tiki-toki.com and access the viewer. It only works with Macintosh/Apple computers or tablets, not Windows machines. A version of the viewer for the PC is forthcoming.)
2. This activity can be assigned individually, in pairs or small groups. After studying the four timelines, have students use the parallel timelines to construct narratives and write them in the form of annotations, notes, or an essay. Students could choose 5-10 events from one to tell a story of the Mediterranean, or combine two (migration and the environment, or politics and technology, for example). Choose 10 events to tell your story of/in the Mediterranean and justify why you chose those events to tell it. Students, working alone or in groups, may draw upon multiple timelines, or you may have them begin with one timeline of their choice, then tell another story using a different timeline, then draw upon two or more timelines. This step-wise method will aid in “getting” the concept of different scales, but also the interaction of different types of events (e.g. technology and empire, trade and migration, environmental challenges and technology, political history, etc.)
3. Have students research recent events in the Mediterranean that are not represented on the timelines, and use the research from textbooks and other sources to create their own timeline of 10 or more stories. Students may use Tiki-toki or other online tool. They should be able to tell why they chose certain start- and end-dates, why the events are significant, and how the events relate to one another. When they present the timelines, they should be able to relate a story that their series of events tells about the Mediterranean.
Among the categories and issues in the timelines are the following:Demographic
o Population fluctuations in the Mediterranean over time
o Historical actors of various types (men and women as rulers, slaves, migrants, solo travelers, seafarers, legends and holy figures, pirates, pastoral nomads, artisans, peasants, warriors, conquerors, missionaries, etc.Economic & political
o Development & routes of trade and their links to Europe, Asia, Africa by land & water
o Trade goods
o Cities & city-states, the development of global cities over time
o Empires in and beyond the MediterraneanTechnology
o Technologies for trade & warfare
o Abundance of resources of value that are scarce or absent elsewhere—how do demand and supply change over time?
o Bringing plants and animals and acclimating them to the region
o Use of solar energy [wind, biomass, waterpower, animal/human muscle vs. fossil fuels as major historical watershed]Environmental impacts
o What defines the “limits of the possible” for supplying basic needs and developing and sustaining complex societies
o Abundance & scarcity of key resources as draw to trade in the Medit and beyond
o Humans and the environment
o Technologies that allow travel within and beyond the Mediterranean region
o Decline in fisheries
o Soil depletion (erosion and human use)
o Arid and wet periods
Questions for ongoing discussion with the timeline project:
1. What makes the Mediterranean past a shared human experience?
2. What zones of interaction within and beyond the Mediterranean are active in different periods? What sorts of interactions are involved (EX: transfers of technology, ideas, goods; warfare; environmental effects with distant causes; people migrating in or out)
3. Concepts of continuity and change vs. ideas of points of rupture; What changes and what continues much as before? Examples often claimed as ruptures:
4. The rise and destruction of Carthage, the rise of Rome and The fall of Rome
5. The rise of Christianity and Islam
6. Crossing the Atlantic, circumnavigation of Africa and the globe in the 15th – 16th century
7. Opening the Suez Canal