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Cosmala or Universe Story Beads

(also known as Great Story Beads, Universe Beads or Big History Beads)

Cosmalas are strings of beads designed to tell the Universe's Story from its beginning 13.7 billion years ago to today.  Each bead of the strand is selected by the maker of the Cosmala to represent events throughout the course of history.  The making of the Cosmala personally connects you to the events. Sharing the created strand with others reinforces your personal understanding and allows you to celebrate and appreciate your connection to deep time. If you teach, they also can be shared for the purpose of providing a tangible sense of deep time that learners can see and touch.  (or used for a hands-on project that students take home).


Deepen your Understanding of the Universe

Making a set of Universe Story Beads deepens your understanding of our 13.7 billion year journey to today, transforming the facts of how we got here into a rich, vibrant and engaging story of which each of us is part. 


Personalized Universe Story - Anyone can do it!

Cosmalas can be made short and simple (especially for a child’s first Cosmala), and can be expanded over time as your knowledge grows.  The first bead marks the beginning of the Universe Story, and the last marks today (or the future). You choose the events (and matching beads) in between.Your own personal set will not only make our history become as familiar as your home, but will also show how you are embedded in our larger story of the Universe, making the whole world your personal home.


JonC-H CosmalaExample of a Detailed Set :
          Jon Cleland-Host's Cosmala   
This set is not simple, but it can give you an idea of the possibilities with story beads.  Also, you can download his timeline of events and detailed instructions for building a story string of beads.  These can be used as a basis for creating your own set.


How do you make your own?

To make your own set, all you need to do is pick which events to include, then pick a bead for each, and string them together. You can use the instruction guide above and event list from Jon's Cosmala for ideas. Also, Connie Barlow's Great Story Beads page (part of The Great Story website) is a fantastic resource with detailed instructions (with advice on materials and bead sources), examples of completed sets beads, and many pre-made lists of events.   Connie's site features strands from 18 beads to almost 300 beads in length. The site includes a discussion of the history of using beads this way as well as the variety of applications.


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