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This page examines the issues involved in teaching students about the geologic time scale. There are suggestions for tackling troublesome issues in class as well as activities that can be used to clarify how geoscientists look at deep time. Five main concepts with which students struggle when thinking about Deep Time are addressed here: imagining or comprehending big numbers; the difference between ... Full description.
Grade level: Intermediate (3-5), Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Guide for instructor, Presentation / Demo, Ref. material
Subject: Geologic time
 
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DLESE Community Collection (DCC)    Browse collection
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This Flash animation provides a tour of the history of the universe, the solar system, and Earth. Moving the slider allows viewers to progress from the Big Bang, almost 14 billion years ago, to the beginnings of life on Earth in the Proterozoic era, through the age of the dinosaurs and finally to the time of Homo sapiens. When the slider stops moving, animations and text appear, highlighting important ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12), College (13-14)
Resource type: Visualization - scientific
Subject: Geologic time
 
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This lesson provides a real-sense time scale experience to better visualize the vast extent of geological time. Using familiar linear analogs, students come to realize that the five main classes of vertebrates (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds) each emerged several tens of millions of years apart, over the past 500 million years. Students also discover when the earliest fossils of each ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12), College (13-14)
Resource type: Classroom activity, Guide for instructor, Lesson plan
Subject: Geologic time
 
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This video shows the retreat of the Laurentide ice sheet that covered much of North America from 18,000 to 8,000 years ago. Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12), College (13-14)
Resource type: Video, Visualization - scientific
Subject: Cryology, Geologic time
 
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This module consists of five lessons in which students work backwards from the present, investigating events in the history of a rock as far back as its formation. They should be able to demonstrate the knowledge that Earth processes create a change in the Earth's surface over time; transfer this knowledge and apply it to modern examples; analyze their surrounding geography and determine which Earth ... Full description.
Grade level: Intermediate (3-5), Middle (6-8)
Resource type: Module / Unit
Subject: Geologic time, Geology
 
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Stone Wall Initiative    Browse collection
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The Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Center was founded in 2004 by Triebold Paleontology Incorporated. All of the specimens contained in the exhibits are on loan from Triebold. The Center holds over 30 life sized specimens, primarily skeletons, and houses Triebold's. Triebold provides services for museums and individuals including paleontological exploration, data collection, excavation, preparation, restoration, ... Full description.
Grade level: Informal
Resource type: Commercial portal
Subject: Geologic time, Paleontology
 
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ESS Informal Education Network    Browse collection
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Students write a short essay using relative age principles to describe a fictional set of geologic events and processes (specified in the exercise) that occur in a hypothetical area. The essay is used to develop a geologic profile, and then it is given to another student who is tasked with producing the correct geologic profile (as a quiz), based on the essay information. A teacher-designed rubric ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Classroom activity
Subject: Geologic time, Geology
 
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Other: Read
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In this activity, students are assigned a geologic profile based on a set of rock samples and are asked to arrange the samples from oldest to youngest. They then identify each rock type and record their observations of what processes might have formed it, what type of sediment it is made of, what sort of environment it might have formed in, and what agents of erosion or deposition might have been ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Classroom activity
Subject: Geologic time, Geology
 
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Other: Read
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This unit introduces students to the development of the theory of continental drift. They will examine the early work of Alfred Wegener and Alexander DuToit, investigate lines of evidence that resulted in the development of the theory, and learn about the final lines of evidence that resulted in the theory's acceptance. There is a set of activities in which the students construct a map of Pangea using ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Module / Unit
Subject: Geologic time, Geology
 
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Earth science courses typically include the concept of geological time. The authors of this study attempt to move past traditional assessment practices and develop a formative assessment of students' understanding of the construction of the geologic time scale and how it is interpreted. Through this approach students are challenged to conceptualize the geologic time scale by comparing it to a student-produced ... Full description.
Grade level: Graduate / Professional
Resource type: Journal article
Subject: Educational theory and practice, Geologic time
 
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Evaluation Toolkit    Browse collection
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