Relative Age-dating – Discovery of Important Stratigraphic Principles
This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process.
This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection
Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
- Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
- Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: May 23, 2008
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Students create a descriptive name for the principle.
Students describe how their principle can be used as a general relative age-dating principle to the class.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
- 1.) Knowledge–Identify rock types and other symbols.
2.) Knowledge–Observation and recall of information.
3.) Comprehension–Translate knowledge into new context.
4.) Application–Use concepts in new situations.
5.) Analysis–Pattern recognition.
6.) Synthesis–Generalize from given facts and observations.
7.) Synthesis–Creation of general principles.
8.) Evaluation–Assess value of principles.
Other skills goals for this activity
- Creativity, use of language.
Working in groups.
Oral presentations (for some).
Description of the activity/assignment
But why not start with the examples and let students discover these principles for themselves?
Students are split into small groups which each work to discover a different relative age-dating principle. The groups are shown photos and given handouts with drawings of rock outcrops illustrating the various principles. These handouts include worksheets for which they must answer a series of prompts that help lead them to the discovery of their relative age-dating principle. Groups must also invent a name for their principle, and select a spokesperson who will present the group's results to the rest of the class.
Determining whether students have met the goals
- Did each group discover a principle, and invent a name for it?
- Was each group able to describe the use of their principle?
- Did any classroom discussion ensue in agreement or disagreement with efforts of particular groups?
Download teaching materials and tips
- Activity Description/Assignment (Acrobat (PDF) 100kB May5 08)
- Instructors Notes (Acrobat (PDF) 44kB May5 08)
- Grand Canyon Cross Section (Acrobat (PDF) 213kB May5 08)