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Train Day

Social Studies Lesson
for Train Day

The students will create and interpret a transportation timeline.




  1. If revolving the day around The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg, have a lesson on the north pole and where it is located.

  2. Have the students brainstorm different modes of transportation.  Record their responses on the chalkboard or chart paper.  Lead to a discussion on how some of the modes of transportation were inventions.  They have not been around forever.

  3. Discuss with the students how people and horses pulled trains before the steam locomotive was invented.  Compare and contrast how people in history moved about compared to people of today.

  4. Draw a timeline on the long piece of butcher paper.  The dates to mark off are those on the Transportation Timeline Worksheet.

  5. Cut the Transportation Timeline Worksheet into strips and have select students read the strips and place them in the correct place on the timeline.

  6. Have a discussion about the timeline and how the years relate to today's date.

  7. Pass out the Transportation Timeline Worksheet for Students and have them complete it individually or as a class, depending on the age of the students.


Other Lesson Ideas

  1. Using maps, have the students plan a train trip they would like to take.  The following web site may be helpful: Amtrak.Com (Click on Trains and Destinations.  This portion of the site provides maps with specific train routes.)

  2. Have a train conductor come in and speak about his/her job.



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