Time Travellers

An activity that enables learners to think about their place and their community in terms of time. It investigates connections with the past and with the future.

KS3 | 60 Mins | Individual


KEY QUESTIONS: How has my place changed over time? How might it change in the future?



Extending the present provides a way for learners to think about community cohesion through the medium of time. It uses the idea of us existing in the present day, but at the same time being connected to both the past and the future. By identifying these connections (be they people, places or artefacts) we can understand more about where we live today. We can use the same idea to think about how our place might be in the future. The idea can be represented in a time chain as follows:

Concentric circle

A good introduction to extending the present is to ask learners to think about the connections in time that are present in their own lives/ community. If they were to place themselves in the centre of the time chain, what would be their connections to the past and what might be their link to the future? For example:


You may need to be sensitive to learners (i.e.adopted/looked after) whose home situation varies from these direct and obvious links.

The time chain is also useful as a learning tool to investigate various time-related dimensions of where we live. The following activities introduce ideas for using the extended present chain.


Places in time

What are the important places in our community (eg. local park or school) and how have these changed over time? How might they change in the future?

1. Ask learners to draw an extended present chain to think about their own connections in time. Who could they include and how do they know them?

Note: This may be good to set as a homework task before completing other activities.

2. Think about what questions you will ask the different connections on your chain. They can write their questions around the chain. Questions might include:

What places were important to you as a child? What made them important?

Are those places still important?

Have your important places changed? If so, then how?

What places are important to you now?

3. Record responses and ideas as you complete your enquiry. Remember to include ideas about the future. You could ask others in your chain how they see the future of your place.

4. Reflect on your completed chain (this could be by comparing with others). Think about how the important places in your community have changed over time. Can you identify the main reasons why this might be? What have you learned about your place?

Comparing histories

The extended present chain can be useful for thinking about how a place changes over a set period of time. Each link in the chain could represent a decade for example.

1. Draw an extended present chain and decide what period of time you wish to consider. Each link could represent a 10, 20, 50 or even 100 year period. Your choice will partly depend on the type of change you are looking at (see step 2 – you may wish to decide this first).

2. What type of change do you want to think about? Use the space around the chain to record the ideas and questions you might use to investigate this change. Some changes you might consider include:

Changes in the population of where you live;

Changes in the type of work that people do;

Changes in housing and how people live;

Changes in transportation and how people get around;

Changes in the environment;

3. Record responses and ideas as you complete your enquiry. Use what you find out to think about how your place might change in the future. How do others think it might change?

4. Reflect on what you have learned. What has been the greatest period of change? What factors have caused change? How have people responded to change? How do communities respond to change?


Based on original material created by The Linking Network and Lifeworlds Learning

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