Dear colleagues, One of the problems I face while referring to issues on evolution is the concept of time-line. Eocene specimen of primate - so what?
55 million years? I connect it to a few million years after the extinction of the Dinosaurs.That is rather cool.
But, then, what is so great? I always thought that primates were around along with the Dinosaurs.
So how do I kindle interest in my students who think I conflate into Darwin because he is one of my blood relatives!
So, How do I develop in students wonderment for this large time-frame of millions of years from the origin of oganisms (540 m yrs) and the billions of years of the geological'evolution' (4.6 b yrs)?
This is something I have seen done in a number of ways. String stretched out is a great visual for younger students. Paper clipped pictures can be used to represent organisms at different stages. Phylogenetic trees can be built up in the same way by making the string branch. I have also used the old style computer paper (with continuous sheets) to cover time periods along the classroom wall. The more that students contribute to the project (calculating the appropriate length; measuring out to points where organisms should be added; sketching the organisms....) the more it will hold their attention.