History of the Universe

Your pupils may believe that you and their parents are the oldest things in the universe, but surprise! There are elements of the universe that are even older. Elementary scientists create a class timeline to demonstrate the expansive age of the universe, using one year to represent the time since the Big Bang — the last minute of which notes the appearance of humans.

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Instructional Ideas
  • Connect to a math lesson for the calculations needed for the timeline
  • Incorporate the activity into a space science or earth science curriculum focus
  • Display the finished timeline in a multipurpose room or hallway for other school members to enjoy
  • Of the last minute of the year that represents human existence, encourage learners to find the exact second that represents their own life on earth
  • Encourage enthusiastic pupils to note additional historic periods on earth
Classroom Considerations
  • Requires enough classroom materials for groups of three students each
  • Activity rounds up the age of the universe (13.7 billion years to 15 billion years) to ease calculation; have older or more advanced learners work with the actual number for an additional mathematical challenge
  • Note that there are differing theories about the age of the earth, some of which may be held by members of your class
  • This resource is only available on an unencrypted HTTP website. It should be fine for general use, but don’t use it to share any personally identifiable information
Pros
  • Promotes inquiry-based learning and group cooperation
  • Create a visual and hands-on example of the age of the universe
  • Provides the necessary worksheet
Cons
  • None