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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.

You may also find useful information about references and resources for teaching about the early earth and ideas for creating early earth teaching activities.


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Starting Out With Earth History part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lectures:Examples
Distribute a blank geologic-history timeline to pairs or small groups of students at the start of an Earth History unit or course and ask them work together to fill it out as best they can. -

Presenting the Geologic Timescale part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lecture Demonstrations:Examples
This project has students model the geologic timescale using distance as a metaphor for time. Students give presentions spaced at distances which represent how far apart in time the events occurred. -

Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Age of the Earth part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Question The Earth is about 4.6 billion years old. Let's try to get a perspective on how long that really is. Suppose that you decided to count to 4.6 billion and that you counted 1 number every second. How ...

JiTT - Exploring Geoarchaeology part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Just in Time Teaching:Examples
1) How is climate connected to geoarchaeology? Explain. 2) List as many "tools" you can think of that would be useful to a geoarchaeologist and describe why it would be of use. 3) Is geoarchaeological ...

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #10 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Examine the image of rock layers below. Which letter represents the layer that was formed earliest? Image courtesy of USGS a. A b. B c. C d. D

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #1 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Examine the image below and determine which layer is oldest. Image courtesy of Alexandra Moore, Cornell University a. Layer 1 b. Layer 2 c. Layer 3

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #2 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Examine the image of rock layers below. Which statement is most accurate in regard to rocks located at A and B? a. A is older than B. b. B is older than A. c. A and B are the same age.

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #3 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Examine the image of rock layers below. Assume all the rock layers are horizontal. Which statement is most accurate in regard to rocks located at A, B, and C? a. A is the oldest and C is the youngest. b. B is the ...

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #4 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Examine the image of rock layers below. Which statement is most accurate? Image courtesy of USGS. a. Layers A and E are the same age. b. Layers B and D are the same age. c. Layers C and F are the same age.

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #5 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Examine the image of rock layers below. Which letter represents the layer that was formed first? Image courtesy of the USGS. a. A b. B c. C d. D

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #6 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Examine the image of rock layers below. Which letter represents the layer that was formed last? Image courtesy of USGS. a. A b. B c. C d. D e. E

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #7 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Examine the image of rock layers below. An angular unconformity is present between layers ___ and ___. Image courtesy of USGS. a. A and E b. B and D c. C and F d. F and D

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #8 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Examine the image of rock layers below. Which sequence of letters best represents the order in which the layers were formed (from oldest to youngest)? Image courtesy of USGS a. A, B, C, D, E b. B, D, C, E, A c. A, ...

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #9 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Examine the image of rock layers below. Tilting must have occurred Image courtesy of USGS a. after A was deposited. b. between deposition of layers E and A. c. before B was deposited. d. between deposition of ...

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #11 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Examine the image of rock layers below. Which letter represents the layer that was formed last? Image courtesy of USGS a. A b. B c. C d. D

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #12 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Examine the image of rock layers below. Which sequence of letters best represents the order in which the layers were formed (from oldest to youngest)? Image courtesy of USGS a. A, B, C, D b. D, A, C, B c. B, D, A, ...

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #13 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Examine the image of rock layers below. Which letter represents the layer that was formed earliest? Image courtesy of USGS a. A b. B c. C d. D

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #14 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Examine the image of rock layers below. Which letter represents the layer that was formed most recently? Image courtesy of USGS. a. A b. B c. C d. D

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #15 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
What principle would be the best to apply to determine the order in which layers A, B, C, and D in the image below were formed? Image courtesy of USGS. a. Superposition b. Cross-cutting relationships c. Original ...

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #16 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Examine the image of rock layers below. Which letter represents the layer that was formed earliest? a. A b. B c. C d. D