Lesson Plan

Bill & Ted's Excellent Historical Adventure with Google Apps

Build research, writing, and presentation skills with a historical perspective
Kellie A.
Technology coordinator
Cherry Creek School District, Greenwood Village, CO
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My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Students will be able to...

  • use research skills to identify 5 key figures in history that can help Bill & Ted with their history report
  • construct a timeline for their historical figures
  • create a collaborative presentation to share their information
  • write a reflection on what was learned about historical figures through this lesson
  • evaluate each other's group presentations for key elements
English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 6 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook/Attention Getter

Set up the scenario for your students by showing them the trimmed down trailer from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.  This introduces their task for the lesson.  While the lesson targets 5 figures, this could be easily adjusted for different instructional needs or grade levels.  Help students to think critically about what types of historical figures would provide the best perspective into a certain time period.

Student Instructions

Watch the shortened video clip.  Your task will be to help Bill & Ted pass their history class by finding 5 historical figures that they could include in their presentation.  You will need to consider which historical figures would be the best representation of a time period, along with which facts should be included to help Bill & Ted find the figure and bring them to the present.

2 Direct Instruction: Building the Timeline

First, show students how to brainstorm their ideas using a Circle or Concept map in Google Drawings.  You can either provide a template for them to complete on their own or have them build from scratch (depending on their comfort level with Google Drawings).   They should think about as many historical figures as they can, along with some key facts that they know for each figure (era, location, contribution to history).  

After brainstorming, students should choose 5 figures from their brainstormed list that they think would be the best figures to help Bill & Ted finish their history report.  Those figures should then be placed into a timeline in Google Drawings and turned in (either via Google Classroom or another mechanism, like an LMS).

Student Instructions

Using Google Drawings, first brainstorm the figures that you know, based on the unit(s) covered so far.  When brainstorming, be sure to include some key details about these figures (era, location, historical contribution, etc).

After brainstorming your list, color-code the 5 historical figures that you think would be the best representations of a time period to help Bill & Ted in their assignment.

Finally, take your 5 figures and put them into a timeline in a new Google Drawing  & submit it.   This will also be shared with your group in the next step.

3 Guided Practice: Creating the Collaborative Presentation

In small groups, have the students share their timelines with each other.  First, they should identify any similar figures chosen.  Then, they should talk about the other figures chosen & why.  Ultimately, the group will need to come to consensus for which 5 figures they will be putting into their collaborative presentation.

Once the figures have been decided by the group, the group will create a collaborative presentation in Google Slides.  Each person will be responsible for at least 1 slide in the presentation.  If there are more slides than group members, assign slide elements for the remaining historical figures (1 person must find & insert a map to identify where the historical figure comes from, 1 person must find and insert a quotation or piece of textual evidence that relates to their historical importance, 1 person must find and include a picture of the historical figure, etc.).

Student Instructions

In your assigned group, you will need to agree on which 5 figures you will put into a collaborative presentation in Google Slides.  First, share your timelines with each other so you can see if anyone chose the same historical figures.  Then, decide as a group on which 5 should be included in Bill & Ted's report.  

After you've chosen your figures, 1 person will create a slide presentation in Google Drive and share with the other group members and your teacher.  Each historical figure needs a slide with details, images, maps, quotations, and other important information, and each group member will be responsible for at least 1 slide.  If you have more historical figures than group members, you teacher will tell you how to collaborate on the remaining slides.

4 Independent Practice: Reflection on Historical Figures

Google Drive
Free, Paid

While the students worked together to build a collaborative presentation, it's important that they reflect on their own understanding of these key historical figures as well as the learning activity itself.

In Google Docs, have each student submit a written reflection of what they learned about their historical figures, how effective the group process was for them, and anything they think they would change next time.

Student Instructions

After completing the group presentation, submit a written reflection in Google Docs to your teacher.  Be sure to include what you learned about your group's historical figures, how well the group activity worked for you to build your understanding, and anything you think could have been done better or more effectively next time.

5 Wrap-up: Notetaking & Evaluating Using Google Forms

As a wrap-up activity and to extend the learning, create a Google form and have each student fill it out for all group presentations.  Suggestion: have them identify which historical figures were included in their classmates' presentations and also have them think critically about the information presented.  This could serve as both a note-catcher and a way to give feedback to the groups.

If you want the presentations to be anonymous, change any title slides to have only a number.  Students can then identify which presentation they are evaluating in the form.  

If using this as a note-catcher, you can share the submitted information with each student using add-ons like Autocrat or FormMule, or by making them check the box to have their results emailed to them (you'd need to make sure they added their email address in the form).  For evaluation purposes, you could take screen caps of the summary data and copy & paste any written feedback.  Be thoughtful about whether or not you want the presentation and /or the evaluations to be anonymous.

Student Instructions

Watch each group presentation, filling out the evaluation form for each.  Pay close attention:  you will need to include information (kind of like taking notes) for each slide that contains historical figure information.  Which fact or piece of evidence do you think was the strongest to include for each figure?  What additional suggestions do you have (remember to keep your feedback kind, helpful, and specific).