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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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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: 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 #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 #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 #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 #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 #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: 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: 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: 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: Cross Section Explaination part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
During fieldwork in the western U.S., an experienced geologist sketched the cross section below showing three different units of tilted rocks and their relative ages. What could you best infer from this diagram? a. ...

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 #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 #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 #39 part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:ConcepTests:Examples
What principle would be the best to apply to determine the relative order in which rock units A and B in the image below were formed? Image courtesy of USGS a. Original horizontality b. Cross-cutting relationships ...

ConcepTest: Relative Layer Age #35 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. B, C, D, A b. C, B, D, A c. C, D, B, ...