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Time Trek route as a teaching tool for schools

Time Trek is a neat and practical teaching tool for schools. It combines new knowledge with being outdoors and going on a hike together. And, most importantly, Time Trek demonstrates in an easy way how the universe has evolved, but so that the long cosmic time periods do not confuse the “time traveller”.

On the Time Trek, long epochs and eons transform into distance, and a physical experience. Along the various Time Trek routes there are info boards and plaques with pictures and stories about the most important events in natural history. The traveller does not need to pay that much attention to the year numbers, since all the event arrive in sequence when their “time” comes. And as the Trek is designed to be long enough (but not too long), it helps in digesting the largely unfathomable long time periods between events, as well as the relative durations of different processes.

On the Trek the traveller experiences, for example, how long it took for our atmosphere to change to what it is now. Or how fast the continents move, or how mountain ranges have formed and later eroded away. Or what has been the time table of different organisms to appear on our planet.

The Time Trek routes allow the traveller to ponder the causes and effects of the illustrated events, for example how organisms have interacted with each other and their environment. The traveller will also encounter mass extinction events, which have repeatedly wiped many of the species away, and allowed the survivors to evolve in totally new directions.

There are three marked Time Trek routes in the Turku region: Two short 1.4 km long ones (one around the Tuorla Observatory and one in the Ruissalo Botanical Garden), and one long 14 km long (from Tuorla to Yliopistonmäki).

We encourage teachers to take advantage of these routes. For the short routes, we have written a Teacher’s guide with additional information (order it through the website). And for the long route, the free-to-use Timeline on our website offers pages and pages of in-depth information.

We also warmly recommend that you book a guided trek from our experts from our website. You see, Time Trek works best as a teaching tool if the traveller is accompanied by a person who knows of the events in more detail than what is written on the info boards, plaques and even the additional materials. That way the traveller gets answers to the questions that will undoubtedly arise during the Trek. However, you can always walk through any of the Time Trek routes alone, in groups, or guided by a teacher. In that case, we recommend you familiarise yourself with the maps found on the route description pages in advance.

The short routes are best suited for pupils in upper comprehensive school to high school students. The longer route is better for college or university students, as well as anybody who is really enthusiastic about the subjects. The longer route can also be cut into shorter bits, where the focus may be for example the physical and chemical processes soon after the Big Bang, the birth of the Solar System, or the evolution of life.

More information: Chair of the Time Trek association Kirsi Lehto. Email klehto[at]utu.fi, tel. 050 – 338 2824

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