Printable Timeline of Humans – Montessori Third Great Lesson


This beautifully illustrated timeline provides a comprehensive overview of the development of human culture from our earliest ancestors to the present day. It depicts great cultural achievements like the invention of fire, the domestication of wolves, and the moon landing. The timeline covers 5 million years of human history and is divided into four sections with different timescales.


In the Third Great Lesson, the Story of Humans, children are told a story of the human tendencies and how we have worked together to survive and thrive. The lesson is accompanied by this Timeline of Humans which is then available to the children as a reference material for reflection, research and hands on work. This remade version is my attempt to orient the child to the achievements of humanity and help them feel a sense of awe and wonder.

“What is necessary is the the individual from the earliest years should be placed in relation with humanity. There is no love in our hearts for the human beings from whom we have received, and are receiving so much in bread and clothing, and numerous inventions for our benefit.” Montessori, To Educate the Human Potential, p. 17

Features and Details:
  • Final timeline measures 18″ tall x 72″ long
  • 36 hand drawn images
  • A variety of men, women, and children are drawn, showing people from different cultures.
  • People are drawn both clothed and nude, they are not “anatomically correct.”
  • Each illustration has a short, meaningful caption to orient the students to what the picture is of and why it’s important.
  • Images do not have specific dates due to the emergent nature of this research. In this way, the timeline remains impressionistic and your timeline won’t become outdated the next time there is a new discovery.
  • Human evolution is shown in an unobtrusive way with red “ribbons” across the top naming the different hominid species.
  • The top of the timeline is marked with geologic and archeological time periods to help orient the child in time.
  • Covers 5 million years of history, divided into 4 timescales. These changes in scale are indicated by vertical dotted lines and clear dates across the top.
  • You will also receive a 20+ page teacher-facing PDF with further notes about each of the items on the timeline. Includes references and suggestions for further reading.
How It Connects to Other Lessons:
  • There is at least one image to represent each of the Fundamental Needs of Humans
  • Integrates with the Timeline of Life by having colors match for the overlapping time periods.
  • The red “ribbons” showing human evolution match the red strip on the Long Black Strip and the Timeline of Life
  • The last 6 thousand years on the timeline include BCE/CE dates so that children can easily place other history materials on the timeline.
  • The invention of writing is shown to connect this material with the Fourth Great Lesson.
  • The invention of mathematics is shown to connect this material with the Fifth Great Lesson.
Printing Options:
  • Print at Home: One PDF file that you can print at home on letter sized paper and tape together. This option requires 18 sheets of paper. (This can also be great for students to have their own copy of the timeline.)
  • Print with your own professional: One hi-res PNG file that you can send to a professional printer.

Don’t want to print it yourself? Buy the Timeline of Humans already printed on high-quality vinyl here.

This is a digital download- You will have your download in minutes, but you will not receive any physical products

There isn’t a mute timeline, it’s unnecessary.


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