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Evolutionary Timelines

Time Frame:
2 class periods that run 60 minutes each.

Group Size:
Small Groups


In this activity students will build timelines of the history of life in the universe. The timelines are built to scale to help students visually see how life has developed over time.

Main Curriculum Tie:
Science - Biology
Standard 5 Objective 3

Classify organisms into a hierarchy of groups based on similarities that reflect their evolutionary relationships.


  • pictures for timeline (attached)
  • student worksheet (attached)
  • 3” cash register tape, each group of 4 need 15.5 meters
  • colored pencils or markers
  • metric rulers or meter sticks
  • glue
  • textbooks


Instructional Procedures:

  1. Assemble needed supplies
  2. Cut 9 strips of adding tape 15.5 meters long
  3. Divide students into groups of 4
  4. Pass out one student sheet to each student
  5. Give each group adding tape and a set of the pictures to be placed on the timeline
  6. Allow students sufficient class time to build timelines
  7. Students may need to use their books to help them answer the analysis questions.

Answers to Analysis Questions:

  1. These heavier elements were fused together inside of stars
  2. 1.3 billion years apart. Eukaryotic cells contain a nucleus. Because of this, these cells can build much more complex organisms.
  3. Carbon dioxide was important because it is necessary for photosynthesis, it eventually helped lead to the formation of photosynthesizing prokaryotes like the blue-green algae
  4. Fossils were scarce because nothing had hard shells before that point, nothing to fossilze all were soft-bodied
  5. 435 mya, in order for this to happen they might have found things like internal fertilization and resistance to drying out to be important.
  6. 22.5 mya and the expansion of the savannah
  7. Not a huge one, we didn’t come around until very recent history
  8. The last 1 billion years

Lesson Design by Jordan School District Teachers and Staff.

Utah LessonPlans

Created Date :
Dec 08 2014 12:00 PM