World Builders™
  World Builders™
Session One  --  Astronomy    
Session One  --  Astronomy    

  Making a Time Map for the Universe
  Making a Time Map for the Universe

Hands On Assignment for Lesson One
Hands On Assignment for Lesson One

   In this assignment index-card- sized post-it notes or index cards and tape may be used.

     In this course we will be dealing with time spans that are beyond our ability to imagine. However, we can try to understand the time intervals for events. We will make a simple time model of the events that have occurred in our universe so far.


Large Post-It Notes


The universe is thought to be between 12 and 15 billion years old.

Each  group will receive 15 large Post-it notes.
Each post-it note stands for one billion years.
Put the post-it notes down on a flat surface to make a long row.
Number each note.

Now let's put in the significant events.

On the left hand edge of the first note make a line and label it "The Big Bang". This represents the beginning of the universe. All the matter in the universe suddenly appeared in less than a second!  Where we are today is on the right hand edge of note 15.

  • Galaxies began to form about 10 billion years ago.
    Mark this event on the correct note.

  • Our sun began burning as a main sequence star 4.5 billion years ago.
     Find the right note and label it. Think carefully here!

  • The earth is also about 4.5 billion years old.
    Label the note that shows when the earth was formed.

Now let's put in some information about the evolution of life on earth.

  • Put in the date of the first appearance of life.

  • Put in the date of the first multicellular animals.

  • Put in the date of the first fishes.

  • Put in the date of the dinosaurs.

  • Put in the date of the first mammals.

  • Where do humans fit in this picture?

You can find charts that will help you at

Evolution of Life

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Header photograph from NASA
© 1998, 2003, 2004. Elizabeth Anne Viau. All rights reserved. This material may be used by individuals for instructional purposes but not sold. Please inform the author if you use it at