Activities for teaching about the Early Earth
This collection of activities contains materials used to teach about earth's history, evolution and extinction, geologic timelines, and methods used to date geologic events. We are seeking teaching materials that address early earth topics. Do you have a favorite teaching activity you'd like to share? Please help us expand this collection by sharing your own teaching materials.
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Results 1 - 20 of 142 matches
M & M Decay part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
This is a simulation of radioactive decay which illustrates what a half-life is and explains some of the challenges involved with radiometric dating. Pennies or other cheap coins can be substituted for M&Ms if ...
Determining Earthquake Recurrence Intervals from Trench Logs part of Rates and Time:GSA Activity Posters
Trench logs of the San Andreas Fault at Pallett Creek, CA are the data base for a lab or homework assignment that teaches about relative dating, radiometric dating, fault recurrence intervals and the reasons for uncertainty in predicting geologic phenomena. Students are given a trench log that includes several fault strands and dated stratigraphic horizons. They estimate the times of faulting based on bracketing ages of faulted and unfaulted strata. They compile a table with the faulting events from the trench log and additional events recognized in nearby trenches, then calculate maximum, minimum and average earthquake recurrence intervals for the San Andreas Fault in this area. They conclude by making their own prediction for the timing of the next earthquake.
Roping Geologic Time part of Rates and Time:GSA Activity Posters
After having talked about the geologic time scale, I ask for two volunteers from the class to hold a rope that is 50 feet long. I say that one end is the beginning of the Earth (4.6 billion years ago), and the other is today. I then give out 16 clothes pins and ask various students to put a cloths pin on the 'time line' at various 'geologic events'. Throughout the activity I have a quiz going on where the students calculate percentages of Earth History for major geologic events, and compare it to their own ages. On their time scale, the dinosaurs died only about two 'months' ago! The exercise is very effective at letting them get a sense of how long geologic time is, and how 'recently' some major geologic events happened when you consider a time scale that is the age of the earth.
The Evolution of Earth through Time part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
This activity is designed for large freshman courses (>200 students) and is used in-class. The activity requires a short (15 minute) overview of Earth history before students have the opportunity to work through ...
Hierarchical Alignment of Timelines part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
In the hierarchical alignment activity students progressively and hierarchically align scale information to a spatial linear representation. The progressive alignment of scales may alleviate the conceptual ...
Field Trip to Enfield Glen, NY Finger Lakes Region part of Cutting Edge:Geoscience in the Field:Activities
This is a 2.5 hour field trip in which students search through strata of the Upper Devonian Catskill Delta for paleocurrent indicators that allow them to infer paleogeographic differences between Devonian and ...
Depositional Environments and Geologic History Labs part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
This is a pair of labs that incrementally prepare students to interpret the geologic history of a rock sequence. The first lab introduces students to depositional environments and fossils. The second lab presents a ...
Biozones, stratigraphic log correlation, and corresponding interpretation of paleoenvironments. part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
This exercise is a guided opportunity for any number of students (even hundreds) to start using recently learned, lower-level knowledge about stratigraphy and biostratigraphy in an integrative, interpretation ...
Hometown Geology part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This is an extra credit assignment for students to learn details about the geology of their hometown.
Observations and Measurements in Geology part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This exercise gives students an introduction to topics they will encounter throughout the semester, and future course work. It covers plate tectonics, weathering, and basic rock descriptions.
Hotspot Lesson: Mantle Plumes part of ERESE:ERESE Activities
This lesson introduces the theory of mantle plumes and possible ways of finding evidence to support the theory.
Relative Age-dating -- Discovery of Important Stratigraphic Principles part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students don't have to be passively taught the important principles geologists use to do relative age-dating of rocks and geologic events. By careful analysis and critical thinking about photos and ...
Lifelines and "Earth lines" part of Cutting Edge:Affective Domain:Activities
This activity can be used as a first lab for an introductory-level geoscience course. It is a cooperative ice-breaker gets students to know one another and opens discussion for geologic time and earth history.
Physical Geology: Idaho Field Trip part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Optional field trip to local sites of geologic interest/relevance.
How Many Is A Million? part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Visualizations with Teaching Notes
Roger Steinberg, Department of Natural Sciences, Del Mar College Description To help students visualize the immensity of geologic time, or even the immensity of just one million years, I have created a very large ...
Radiocarbon dating project part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
This is an example of an activity used in a Quaternary Geochronology course, in which a small group of students (3-4) is tasked with transforming a set of activity measurements into radiocarbon ages and calibrated ...
The Four-Winged Dinosaur part of Cutting Edge:Early Career:Previous Workshops:Workshop 2010:Teaching Activities
This is assignment is completed in two parts: It begins in class with a showing of the Nova documentary "The Four-Winged Dinosaur." It continues as a homework assignment in which students write a short ...
Illinois through time part of Cutting Edge:Early Career:Previous Workshops:Workshop 2010:Teaching Activities
This assignment serves as an introduction to geologic time, using Illinois as an example. It uses the Paleo Portal website to illustrate each geologic period.
Crater Counting Lab exercise part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
This lab is designed to teach students how we can estimate the age of other planetary surfaces by counting and size-binning impact craters. It also illustrates some examples of how erosional or deopositional ...
Personal Timeline part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
Students start this worksheet by listing the most important events in their own lives, plotting them on a timeline, and then doing the same with Earth history events. Usually, their personal timelines will resemble ...