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Retired teacher displays earth’s history with 100m tape in Downham Market




Millions of years of the earth’s history were on display in Downham last week when a retired teacher showcased a 100m tape across the Howdale for students to see.

Tony Osborn, 82, from Downham, laid out his scale tape for educational purposes (STEP) at the park on Thursday, which details the earth’s past back to the Cambrian period, with 10 million years of history per metre.

Retired teacher Tony Osborne displaying his 100m tape illustrating the history of the Earth on the Howdale, with 10m years per metre..front left to right Nadia Marrs, Ingrid Osborn, Tony Marrs....back left to right Bob Cigos, Andy Marrs and Phil Vine. (4226902)
Retired teacher Tony Osborne displaying his 100m tape illustrating the history of the Earth on the Howdale, with 10m years per metre..front left to right Nadia Marrs, Ingrid Osborn, Tony Marrs....back left to right Bob Cigos, Andy Marrs and Phil Vine. (4226902)

Mr Osborn, who retired about 20 years ago, said he first had the idea when teaching environmental science and used the school’s fence to measure the earth’s history for the students.

“What I found when I was teaching was that trying to explain the earth’s history is easier when the pupils can see a tape set out,” he added.

Having approached a company to produce the invention from modified surveyor’s tape, Mr Osborn had to purchase 30 of them as a minimum order.

Retired teacher Tony Osborne displaying his 100m tape illustrating the history of the Earth on the Howdale, with 10m years per metre. (4226901)
Retired teacher Tony Osborne displaying his 100m tape illustrating the history of the Earth on the Howdale, with 10m years per metre. (4226901)

Now Mr Osborn, who taught in the Midlands for about 25 years, is hoping that schools may take up the idea and purchase one of his 30 tapes, which cost about £120.

“We are offering them to schools on the basis that the first school, college or academy that shows the tape to a class and gets an appreciation for it can have the tape for free,” Mr Osborn added.

He is also hoping to set out his tape again next month for students to have another opportunity to view it on their way home from school.

To contact Mr Osborn about the tapes, email osborn569@btinternet.com



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