I Watch Babies Grow

3, 4, 5

Students recognize that babies come into the world with unknown potential. Babies born today grow up to "know a different world" than the elderly people students met in the previous lesson. Students look at the known and unknown parts of a timeline.

PrintFour to Five Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • read birth announcements in newspapers and write two paragraphs.
  • recognize the interconnectedness of people of all ages in a community.
  • interview a classmate.
  • develop a timeline for a peer through photographs and pictures from magazines.
  • recognize and respect the unique qualities of others.
  • pencil and paper
  • large construction paper
  • at least eight photos or student created pictures of each student brought from home
  • birth announcements from newspaper
  • magazines (used to cut out pictures )
  • examples of timelines on a variety of subjects
  • glue, tape, scissors, rulers, and other supplies
  • student copies of Handout Two: Interview for Timeline
Teacher Preparation 

Teacher Note: In advance, if appropriate to your school or class,find a family in the school community with a new baby. It is best if the family has some connection to the school. Ask this family in advance what needs they have that the class could assist them with. These should be age-appropriate and short-term, such as raking leaves, raising money to purchase a book, donating gently used baby clothes, toys, or books. Optional: This family may be willing to bring the baby into the classroom. The children can see a baby and learn a little about what care babies require.

Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:Parents are asked to help students select photos representing the events of their lives. Photos should be copied and originals returned.


Armstrong, Louis. What a Wonderful World (title track). Verve: 1968. ASIN: B000003N4G


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Listen to "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. Write the following lyrics from the song on the board: "I hear babies crying. I watch them grow. They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world." Ask the students to read the words and think about what they mean. Discuss.

  2. Show the students the birth announcements from the newspaper. Tell the students that we know nothing about what the future holds for these babies. When they met the elderly friends, they talked about their past interesting life experiences. These babies are just starting their lives. Pass out a birth announcement to each student or pair of students. Tell the students to write a two-paragraph description of the imagined future life of the baby in the announcement. Tell students to be creative and include education, family, career, travel, philanthropy, and other life experiences.

  3. These paragraphs should go through peer editing and revision before students make a final copy to hang up or put in a class book for all to read. Have students share their creative writing within small groups of students.

  4. Tell the students to bring to school in two days copies of photos of significant events from their own lives (infancy to present). These photos will be used on a timeline so they should be copies of the originals. See Handout One: Request for Photos.

  5. Day Two:


  6. Ask the students if they have younger siblings and whether they remember how much work it was/is to have a baby in the house. Lead the students to recognize that they could share their time, talent, or treasure with a busy family with a baby.

  7. Tell the students that you have found a family in the community who could use some help during this busy time while their baby is little. Ask the students to think of things they could do to help this family. Brainstorm a list, adding some suggestions that you think are appropriate to the family you contacted. Guide the students to identify their suggestions as time, talent, or treasure.

  8. Come to a consensus about what they can do for the family and make a plan to carry out. Discuss responsibilities connected with the plan, make a timeline, and carry out the plan over the next several days or weeks.

  9. Day Three:

  10. Ask the students to reflect on their own lives since they were infants. What have they learned to do in that time? Tell them to think about some of the things they have done that have made them proud. Can they think of something they may have done to make the world a better place? Or what kind thing have they done for someone else.

  11. Review and show examples of timelines for a variety of topics. Tell the students that they are going to make a timeline of a partner’s life, including the past and the imagined future. They will get the information for the timeline through interviewing.

  12. Students may choose a partner or be given a partner for this activity. They use Handout Two: Interview for Timeline, being careful to record accurate dates, names, and places. As the interview is taking place, students should have their pictures out in order to share with the interviewer.

  13. Give some guidelines for the materials and final appearance of the time line that they will be making for the person they have just interviewed. The person creating the timeline should be aware of the feelings of the person for whom he/she is making it. It should be respectful, accurate, neat, and attractive.

  14. Day Four:

  15. Students sit next to their partners as they create their timelines. They can talk about the information as they work. The students may use lettering, photographs, magazine pictures, drawings, stickers, stencils, or other creative tools to make the timelines meaningful and attractive.

  16. In this timeline project, students MUST include birth, at least three events between birth and present age, at least one act of philanthropy (actual or future), and three invented events in the future.

  17. When the students are finished with the timelines, set them up in a gallery so the students in the class can look at each one.


Rubric for the timeline: 3 2 1 Clearly shows the student’s life in a chronological order including acts of philanthropy. Some parts of student’s time line are out of order or missing. Many parts of the student’s time line are missing. Uses a variety of photographs, and magazine pictures. Uses some pictures and magazine pictures. Uses only a few pictures. Fills the construction paper, neat, eye-catching. Fills half of the construction paper, lacking in neatness. Little or no effort made to keep it neat

Cross Curriculum 

Students help out the family of a baby with a kind act. Within the school community, there may be a family with a new baby who can use some help with yard work, a meal, or a small gift.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss the importance of respect for others.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.5 Give examples of actions students can take to improve the common good and list or describe responsibilities that go with those actions.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark E.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Describe the task and the student role.
    4. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a service plan.