The Cosmic Calendar
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection
This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
- Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
- Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: Feb 23, 2012
This activity was adapted by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific from a wonderful exercise popularized by Dr. Carl Sagan, astronomy publicizer extraordinaire.
One can easily modify this to just include time from Earth's formation until now.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
For younger ages, they should know how to put events in order.
For older ages, they should know how to do ratios.
How the activity is situated in the course
It COULD be used as many other things, I just haven't done so personally.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Concept goals: arithmetic as a tool to learn about the Universe, vast time scales in the Universe, evolution has the time it needs!, human insignificance ;)
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
- searching the internet
- working in groups
- operating calculators
- writing about particular events or a reaction to the activity (like what it means)
Description of the activity/assignment
First, they have to pick major events (younger students can be given them) - this can lead to lively discussion! You can certainly be adaptable here.
Second, the best thing to do is have the students guess where each event should be on the Cosmic Calendar.
Third, have them look up or be given the actual time period when the event occurred.
Fourth, have them calculate (or be given) the "date" on the Cosmic Calendar.
Fifth, discuss! Debate! Reflect!
Files cannot be uploaded as they are copyrighted but they are easily found and freely available.
Authors: Therese Puyau Blanchard, Andrew Fraknoi, and the staff of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Determining whether students have met the goals
- filling out a worksheet
- answering multiple-choice test questions
Download teaching materials and tips
Wikipedia has an excellent article on the Cosmic Calendar: