On the Cutting Edge - Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
Teaching about the Early Earth: Evolution of Tectonics, Life, and the Early Atmosphere
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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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When and How Did Continental Crust Form? part of Cutting Edge:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Many models have been proposed regarding the timing and mechanisms that first formed the continental crust. The purpose of this exercise is to help students explore the question of crustal genesis and evolution ...

ConcepTest: Rock Ages part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Match the features in the relative time diagram below with the events described in the short sentences. Assume all rocks are sedimentary unless otherwise indicated. What is the best estimate of the age of F if A is ...

ConcepTest: Oldest Rocks part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Carefully examine the relative positions of the lettered arrows on the timeline below and estimate the ages represented by each arrow. Identify which letter corresponds most closely to the age of the oldest known ...

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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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: Unconformity Explaination part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Which of the following sequence of events would best explain what happened between deposition of layers C and E illustrated in the diagram below? a. Uplift only. b. Uplift, erosion, then sea level rise. c. Uplift ...

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #42 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Examine the image of rock layers below. Which letter is located on an unconformity surface? Image courtesy of USGS a. A b. B c. C d. D

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #40 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 #41 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: Earth Timeline - oldest known rock part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Carefully examine the relative positions of the lettered arrows on the timeline below and estimate the ages represented by each arrow. Identify which letter corresponds most closely to the age of the oldest known ...

ConcepTest: Earth Timeline - Formation of the Earth part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Carefully examine the relative positions of the lettered arrows on the timeline below and estimate the ages represented by each arrow. Identify which letter corresponds most closely to the formation of Earth. a. C ...

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