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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 ...

Living with Volcanoes: An Introduction to Geoarchaeology part of Cutting Edge:Environmental Geology:Activities
This activity introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of geoarchaeology through a case study of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE. It combines short lectures with questions requiring analyses of a ...

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #28 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. C and D b. B and D c. C and B d. A and B

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #29 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. after B was deposited and before A was deposited c. before C was deposited d. after C was ...

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #31 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 #32 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
What principle would be the best to apply to determine the order in which the layers in the image below were formed? Image courtesy of USGS a. Original horizontality b. Cross-cutting relationships c. Superposition

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #25 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 #33 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 #23 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? a. A b. B c. C d. D

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #24 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
What principle would be the best to apply to determine the order in which the layers in the image below were formed? a. Superposition b. Cross-cutting relationships c. Original horizontality

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #26 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 #27 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. C, D, B, A b. C, B, D, A c. B, C, D, ...

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #30 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 #34 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 #22 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

ConcepTest: Isotopic Dating with Parent to Daughter Ratios part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
The half-life of a radioactive isotope is 500 million years. Scientists testing a rock sample discover that the sample contains three times as many daughter isotopes as parent isotopes. What is the age of the rock? ...

ConcepTest: What percentage of parent isotopes remain? part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
The half-life of a radioactive isotope is 1,000 million years. Scientists testing a rock sample discover that the ratio of parent and daughter isotopes indicates that the rock is 3,000 million years old. What ...

ConcepTest: Best Index Fossil part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
Four outcrops of rock are examined in different locations of a state. The rock types and the fossils they contain are illustrated in the adjacent diagram. Which fossil would be the best choice to use as an index ...

ConcepTest: Earth Timeline - dinosaur extinction 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 extinction of the ...

ConcepTest: Earth Timeline - the fossil record 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 first appearance in the ...