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Now and Then

Lesson Plan Item

General Information
Grade Kindergarten Class N/A Length of Lesson 35-45 Minutes
Lesson Title Now and Then
Unit Title History of Me
Unit Compelling Question Why do I matter in the world?
Historical Context:

As students grow up they hear their parents or givers say “I didn’t play with that toy when I was a kid.” “When I went to school we had to wear uniforms.”. This statement is likely true because toys are forever ever-changing to better fit the needs and wants of today’s youth. Parents often tell their children stories about when they were a kid and how life was for them. They tell stories of how they were able to play outside without a grown-up watching or they were able to spend less than 1 dollar for a toy they wanted. In the class, each student has a favorite toy they play with all the time. Whether the toy is at home or at school. The students are identified by the toys they play with, the clothes they wear, and the members in their family. To understand history, children need to be able to relate it to their own lives. As the students reflect on the now in their lives, they are also going to reflect in the then through primary sources within photos of people who lived in the past (also known as then). The world is evolving and changing to fit the needs and wants of the individuals living on it. 

Kaci McKewen, Simpson College


Photo: 2018.012.012 

The photo reflects an African American family where the mother, Grace Morris Allen Jones, is the first African American to graduate from Burlington High School in 1891. Grace Morris Allen Jones was born in Keokuk, Iowa but raised in Burlington. She then established the Grace M. Allen Industrial School for all races and where all teachers can be employed no matter the color of your skin. 


Photo: 2018.019.001

The photo depicts two young girls with a doll in a stroller in 1890. The description from the sources doesn't say anything about what the girls were doing, but I can imagine the two girls playing with the doll. This shows today’s students the difference between the doll and strollers then verse now. The students can see what has changed based on the photo. 


Photo: 2018.019.005

Boys posing while playing soldiers in Davenport, Iowa in 1915


Photo: Personal Album

This photo was taken somewhere between 1999 and 2000. In the photo, I was helping to make dinner. The photo was taken in China before I moved to the United States. The clothes I was wearing were different from kids in America because I was in another country. Further down the unit as a class, we will talk about how not everyone wore the same style of clothing. It differed from the location. 

Lesson Supporting Question What is the difference between life Then verses life Now?
Lesson Overview

The students will compare life then vs now. The students will create a chart that is divided into then and now. The students will think about the toys, clothes, and activities kids their age did in the past. The students will reflect on the toys, clothes, and activities they do now. They then will make a connection on who the two sides are different. They will visually see how history has changed from primary sources. There will be artifacts from then and the students will need to identify the changes from then artifacts to now artifacts. In one of the photos, there is a group of boys playing outside with swords, the student will think about the toys they play with outside and decide if they are the same toys or different. We will compare these photos to photos of children throughout history. As we compare the pictures the students will reflect on the changes and the similarities of the photos. As well as the photos from long ago the student will also have an opportunity to compare their own photos to the photos of their classmates in a future lesson. They then are able to see what their classmates looked like in history and what they wore and played with.

Primary Sources Used
Resources Needed
Lesson Target
  • I can recognize a compelling question.
  • I can compare life in the past to today
  • I can use context clues to determine primary and secondary sources
Lesson Themes No themes are assigned for this lesson.
Lesson Procedure
Step Procedure Time Differentiation plan / Additional Information
bell Ringer

The students will walk into the room and there will be a photo of me from my younger days. The students will have to figure out who in the classroom the picture is. 

They will most likely say the names of their friends in the class. 

I then will explain that the picture is me, this will make a connection of who I was then, verse who I am now. At time point I will talk to the students about the vocabulary words “then” and “now”
5 Min   

After the students are done they will be guided onto the carpet.

During the carpet, we will talk about items from now compared to long ago or even just a few days ago. 

I will write the words Now and Then on the whiteboard.

Before further explaining the vocabulary words “then” and “now” the students will think pair share with their partners. As the students talk the teacher will be listening to their conversations to provide feedback and keep the conversation on the right topic. 

The questions that I am going to be asking the students are

“What was life like in the past?”

 “What do you think kids your age played with 100 years ago?” As a visual aid I will be using blocks. Each block is one year. I will have 100 blocks to represent 100 years ago. Therefore the students can visualize the time and distance of the Now block to the 100 years ago block.

 “How do you think the kids dress, did they dress the same as you or different?”

As the students in the class are called upon and say their response I will write their response on the board for everyone to see

5 Min 

Existential Intelligence-the question the students are going to tackle is “what was life like in the past?” “What do you think kids your age played with 100 years ago?” “How do you think the kids dress, did they dress the same as you or different?”


Bodily-Kinesthetic-there are students who cannot sit and listen for a long period of time. The general rule of thumb is their age plus 2. For Kindergarten it is usually around 7 minutes. If the talking portion of the lesson plan takes longer than 7 minutes to do a stretch for 30 seconds then have the students sit back down for the remainder of the whole group lesson. 

As the teacher asks questions the students will express their ideas on the matter. 

This will be a teacher question student answer segment of the lesson. 
5 Min   

After the students make the list we will look at pictures from long ago and compare the pictures to their current counterparts. 

The students will be looking at the clothes and toys within the pictures. 

The pictures that the teacher will be sharing are a family from 1891, two young girls playing dolls from 1890 and a group of boys playing on the lawn in 1915. 

The cues that students can tell that the picture is long ago is that they are black and white rather than color. All the students know from pictures is that they are in colors and are bright. The long ago pictures are black/white and do not have a sharp details. 
5 Min  Visual-Spatial-for students who are visuals learners the teacher has pictures of them. This way they are able to look and listen to the picture and what the teacher is saying about the pictures. 

The students will be dismissed on the color of there shirt. This is because we are talking about clothes then and now. What better representation of Now clothes than the clothes students are currently wearing. 

The teacher will say “If you have a shirt that is blue you may walk to your desk.”

At the student’s desk groups, the primary source pictures should be laid out already. 
2 Min   

The students will go back to their desk groups to dive deeper into the photos as a group. The students are encouraged to talk to one another about what they have seen in the photos. 

The students are able to look at the pictures and see what has changed from the lives of the people in the pictures to their life. 

The students are guided into thinking like a historian with their discussion. 

As a group, we have been working in Social Studies thinking like historian questions and sentence stems. Some of the examples are

“Where are the people?”

“What are they doing?’

“Who else is around?”

“In the picture is see...”

“I don't see....today like I do in the picture because.”

During the portion of the lesson allow the students to deeply look at the sources therefore the students are better able to describe the differences or similarities in the photos to their own life.
7 Min  Interpersonal Intelligence-when the students are in a group setting there is one person talking while the other group members are listening. After the individual is done talking then another member of the group is able to express their thoughts on the picture or comment on the student who just got done talking. Since this is a group it would be difficult to gather ideas and explanations if everyone in the group is talking at once. The room would be at an outrageous voice level. 

Finish the sentence “If I lived long ago...”

As the students are working on their sentence stem I will be asking questions to further the students' thinking. Question examples are

“Why do you think... was a part of the past?”

“How do you know... was something people did in the past?”

“Is there something Now that looks like the picture you drew?”
10 Min  Linguistic Intelligence- the students will be getting a paper with the sentence stem “ If I lived long ago...” the students either have the option to draw what they think or write and draw what they think. This allows students who feel comfortable writing to do so. This also gives the teacher a glimpse into students writing ability or lack. The assessment then gages what future lessons the teacher is able to do with there students (writing-wise).

Since this unit will be done at the beginning of the year students will create an All About Me interest survey. The survey will have a place for the student’s name, their family, age, favorite color, and favorite food. Because this is the beginning of the year the interest survey is drawing and coloring. 


As students are working on their all about me page the teacher will take a picture of the students. The picture will be placed on the completed All about Me sheet. At the end of the school year, the students will compare themselves from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. They will see if anything stayed the same or changed throughout their time in Kindergarten. 
7-10 Min   
Formative Assessment
(How will you use the formative assessments to monitor and inform instruction?)
  • Making connections The students will finish a sentence stem “If I lived long ago...” After the students are done with the worksheet they will turn it in and get there Interest Survey page. As I am looking over there sentence stem I will be assessing the students on if they know what then items look like. There are many ways the students are able to finish the sentence stem. I am seeing if it is logical with what the students learned of then. As the students were working on the worksheet the teacher went around the room and asked students questions about what they were doing. This helped the teacher see first hand if the majority of students understood then vs now. If the students have master then vs now they are able to move on to them as a person and who they were then vs who they are now. This will be the next lesson in the unit.
Summative Assessment
(How does the lesson connect to planned summative assessment(s)?)
  • Do you know why you matter in the world? As the unit is wrapping up there is a summative assessment for the students. Students are to create a poster of all the reasons why they matter in the world. They will use what they learned about their history, location, and future. The poster will explore the student’s creative side and it gives the teacher a chance to see what the student has learned about himself or herself. This assessment will be done in class as well as at home. After a week of working on the assessment, the students will hear what they learned about why they are and the reason why they matter in the world.
Author Information
Author Kaci Mckewen Reviewer Dr. Chad Timm, Simpson College Created 06/21/2020 Last Edited 06/21/2020
Lesson Plan Development Notes: Social Studies Methods, Simpson College, Spring 2020

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