This activity introduces students to the major events that the majority of scientists agree occurred in the history of our universe. It extends from the formation of our solar system and ends with the evolution of humans and their migration across our planet.
Students need to identify the major events, chronologically order them, and then create a scaled timeline which lists these events. This lesson helps students visualize the major events as well as recognize trends in the order and timing of events (ex. the rate of evolution is exponential).
After this lesson, I would have students create a physical model of this timeline. We would take a very long rope and scale it so that every foot was 100 million years. Students would be assigned certain events from the reading and they would describe the basics of this event (name, date, causes, results) on a note card. These could then be hung with paperclips in scaled, chronological order on the rope. After building it on ground level, the whole timeline was then attached to our ceiling with more paperclips (we have drop tiles). This would serve as a reference point for most of our future discussions as we worked through the formation of planets and eventually the evolution of life.
*I taught a hybrid Earth&Space Science/Biology course which used this timeline as the basis of the order of units/lessons.