One of the most challenging things to comprehend in evolution is the vast time in which it proceeds. If time were represented by distance, and the universe were 100 meters long, when would modern humans have appeared? When would dinosaurs have gone extinct? When would life have first emerged on Earth?

Student Learning Goals:

  • Students will gain an understanding of the vast time in which the universe has evolved so far. In the vast scheme of things, they will see how recently humans have come on the scene.


  • Linoleum Tiles
  • Markers
  • Measuring Tape
  • Calculator
  • Note Cards
  • Pens
  • Timeline

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
~ Albert Einstein

Set Up:

For the best learning experience, students may help with the set up. If time is limited, the instructor may set this up ahead of time.

Lable Tiles with events and times from present. Use calculator to convert times into distances.

Set out tiles marking important events in our past (Big Bang, emergence of light, galaxies, stars, our solar system, Earth, first life, first multi-celled creatures, first animals, first amphibians, reptiles, mammals, primates, humans, etc.)


Invite people to walk past the Tiles Through time to experience deep time.

Optional: Imagine the Future: Once people reach the present, they are invited to imagine their hopes and dreams for the future of evolution. For example, people might write on their cards, in 25 years, a sustainable and clean energy source is found. In 30 years, extreme poverty is eliminated. In 40 years, the last war is fought. In 50 years, HIV is eradicated. In 70 years, malaria is eradicated. In 100 years, Mars is colonized. In 200 years, we make first contact with extraterrestrials. In 250 years, we successfully deflect incoming meteor. In 300 years, we harness and diffuse the energy of latent supervolcanos.