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Travel Through Time with a Family Member and Me


Lesson 2

Interview a Family Member

Interview a family member and create a slide presentation that will contain several things:

1) A timeline of four significant events that happened 
in their lifetime.

2) A narrative about their life based on an interview that you are going to conduct with this person.

3) Photographs of your family member that you can include in your presentation.

Interview Guidelines

1) Decide on a family member whom you'd like to interview and make sure he or she knows you are using the interview for a school presentation.

2) This is a good time to ask the person for a photograph or pictures of them to use in your presentation.

3) Try to come up with the questions based on what you already know about your family member and what you have learned about the major historical events during his or her lifetime.

4) When you formulate questions think about the answer. If the answer is one word or a phrase, such as yes or no, then reword the question.

5) When you are conducting the interview make sure you take notes or record the interview. This way you can edit it and rewrite the important parts for your presentation.

6) Type the interview in a word processing program. When you are ready to create your timeline (see Lesson 3), you can copy and paste between the word processing and drawing programs.


What Was Happening The Year You Were Born?

Have your students go to http://ourtimelines.com/
to find out what happened from the time they were born until the present. This is an excellent website to help students put in the dates that their family member was born in order to discuss if any of the events had an impact on their lives. Allow them to print out a printable version of the timeline to take home or if need be print out one for the class and each student can choose several important events from the timeline. In addition there are links that will take the student to find more information on those significant events that appear on the timeline.


A Look at Some Historical Timelines

Your students can look at the following historical timelines to see if their relatives had lived and experienced such events as the Civil War, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement or were immigrants to this country. This is an excellent way to work across the curriculum and work with your colleagues on this project.

Check out EllisIsland.org  and find "A timeline of immigration history shows the forces that brought people from all over the world to America's shores."


This website will give you a timeline from 1870-2000 of different events relating to people, events and data:



Civil Rights Timeline can be found on this website:


The Vietnam War timeline can be found at:



Interviewing Icebreaker Activity - (2) 45 minute sessions

Students will pair off and spend 10 minutes writing down questions they would like to ask their partner. Next, each student will be responsible for interviewing a partner and with the answers they will have to write a paragraph to present to the entire class. Each student will have 2 minutes to talk about their partner. If time allows you can help the students to create a rubric to assess the performance of each group presenting their information.

Interviewing Techniques

Check out this website to get tips on how to interview relatives.


You can download this and give a copy to your students or have them refer to it online.

Another website with interviewing techniques is:


Interviewing Questions

This website will give you 50 family interview questions to get you started with coming up with your own questions:



There are additional sample interview questions on this website:



A Look at Narratives Written from Oral Interviews

This website lists some narratives written by high school students who wrote after interviewing family members. Have your students pick one to read to get an ideas about what kinds of questions they may have asked their family members in order to get the responses they did.



Click Here to see Sample Student Transcript


Writing Checklist for Students

Writing Checklist.pdf 

This checklist was created using  http://4teachers.org

You can create your own
checklist by going to the following URL:


2004 TeachNet Curriculum Project created by Robin R. Donovan