400 Heaping Paces to the Origin of Life

evolution walk

Earlier this year, Class 6 enjoyed an English-Science(-Math) unit delving into modern and traditional origin stories. One particularly memorable achievement was an incredible piece of collaborative storytelling, in which the group worked together to create a to-scale timeline of the evolution of life on Earth.

Having studied the concept in the classroom, the students plotted the scene of their demonstration to the outside world: from the neck of Jhamtse’s driveway to the first switchback bend. First, we measured the terrain. Second, we worked through a series of calculations to establish our million-years-to-paces ratio, then dozens of multiplications later the students determined how many paces from our origin each placard needed to be situated.

When we returned to our expansive canvas, students were challenged to work together and problem solve to affix their various markers along the path. At first, things were a little aimless and chaotic, as the group struggled to establish a rhythm, but very quickly students stepped forward into various dynamic roles: some took charge of subtracting one marker location from the next, establishing how many additional paces a measurer would have to walk before the next paper should be placed, as their peers simultaneously emerged as energetic pace counters. Other students sorted through papers, while still others, with remarkable resourcefulness and creativity, constructed an impressive variety of signposts upon which to display their evolutionary milestones.

All in all, a striking and engaging project, awesome collaborative process, and finally a product they were proud to show off to their teachers and friends.

evolution walk

The team sorts their papers at the origin of life on Earth

evolution walk

Lobsang Yudron measures paces to our next landmark

evolution walk

Tashi Yangzom B shows off the dawn of landplants

evolution walk

Tashi Yangzom B, Lungta Sangmu, and Tenzin Tashi rifle through evolutionary milestones

evolution walk

Lungta Sangmu calculates our next step

evolution walk

Tashi Yangzom B and Lungta Sangmu deliberate and delegate

evolution walk

Tsering Pema and Tenzin Tashi welcome earthworms to the planet

evolution walk

Therchung Tsering marks the birth of flowering plants

evolution walk

Kunsang Drolma and Therchung Tsering put a stake in the ground

evolution walk

Lungta Sangmu, we’ve made it to the present day

evolution walk

11- Several billion years later, a job well done

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3 Responses to 400 Heaping Paces to the Origin of Life

  1. Laurel Lhowe says:

    What a wonderful way to learn and surrounded by lovely scenery. I wish I had lessons in school like this!

  2. Beezy Bentzen says:

    Teaching and learning at its best!

  3. Tawmess says:

    Superb fun way to learn — the real size of time, in the life of our earth!

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