In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams writes ‘the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion’ and we in the educational world make a living out of chunking often difficult and complex ideas and subjects into digestible chunks. But once in a while, it is important to take a look at the big picture to get a sense and to make sense of the details. Zooming out doesn’t necessarily mean losing sight of the details. In fact, it often gives a new appreciation of the patterns that cause the eddies and currents affecting the elements.
A series of books which are designed to show the big picture, both literally and figuratively, are the Wallbooks by Christopher Lloyd, which fold out into a timeline on many different topics
The books cover a range of science and historical topics from the history of science & engineering, the history of everything from the big bang to the present today, to all the plays of Shakespeare. Each book is beautifully illustrated by Andy Forshaw.
Taking the book of science and engineering as an example, the book places key figures, events, discoveries in to their proper temporal position. For much of the chart, timeline is separated into different areas of the world which give a wonderful sense of the differences occurring in different locations around the world. Each picture has a caption explaining what the picture is and some extra information about it.
For teachers who relish a good cross-curricular resource, this would be a wonderful addition to your classroom. It can be used in a structure way to explore ideas, people and places in a variety of subject areas. It is also a delight to explore in a more structured way and ‘discover’ new information and seeing how it all fits together. A wonderful set of books for both young and not so young inquiring minds. See more at https://whatonearthbooks.com
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This article was first published in the July 2014 Edition of UKEdMagazine – Click here to read the full version.