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Geologic Time Activities


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Teaching geologic time and rates of landscape evolution with dice
Kate Ruhl, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Landscape evolution provides a convenient framework for understanding geologic time and rates because students can observe how processes like erosion and deposition shape their surroundings. In this example, students build 3-D sandbox models based on topographic maps and design and stage a "virtual adventure race." Sandbox landscapes are used to illustrate erosional processes,while local examples are used to discuss landscapes as transient or steady over different time- and length scales. Dice experiments illustrate radioactive decay and the shape of the age equation curve, and 14C dating, geochronology and thermochronology are introduced as "stopwatches" that start when a plant dies, a crystal forms, or a rock nears the surface and cools to a certain temperature. The sandbox model and thermochronometer "stopwatches" are combined to measure erosion rates and rates of landscape change. Ultimately, model rates (cm/hour) calculated from stopwatch times on the order of seconds can be related to geologic rates (km/My) calculated from real million-year-old samples.

BotEC: The Magnitude of Geologic Time
Peter Kresan
Question The oldest rock yet to be found on the earth is from Canada and is radiometrically dated at 3.8 billion years old. Various lines of evidence suggest that the earth is about 4.5 to 5 billion years old. A ...

My Geologic Address: Locating Oneself in Geologic Time and Process
Kip Ault, Lewis and Clark College
Students locate their homes on local, regional, and global scale geologic maps. They build up an "address" describing their location in geological terms based on the features of the maps, from local bedrock to regional and global tectonic features.

The Evolution of Earth through Time
Phil Stokes, The University of Arizona
This activity is designed for large freshman courses (>200 students) and is used in-class. The activity requires a short (15 minute) overview of Earth history before students have the opportunity to work through ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Illinois through time
Surangi Punyasena, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This assignment serves as an introduction to geologic time, using Illinois as an example. It uses the Paleo Portal website to illustrate each geologic period.

How Many Is A Million?
Roger Steinberg, Del Mar College
Roger Steinberg, Department of Natural Sciences, Del Mar College Description To help students visualize the immensity of geologic time, or even the immensity of just one million years, I have created a very large ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Learning Assessment #8 - Concept Map (2011)
Leslie Reid, University of Calgary; Michelle Speta, University of Alberta
An end of the term, in-class activity that challenges students to synthesize their understanding of the fundamental concepts taught over the course of the semester - plate tectonics, the rock cycle, geologic time ...

Relative Dating of Geologic Materials
Steve Mattox, Grand Valley State University
This lessons allows students to constuct the basic principals used to understand relative geologic time and the skills used to construct the geologic time scale.

Hierarchical Alignment of Timelines
Ilyse Resnick
In the hierarchical alignment activity students progressively and hierarchically align scale information to a spatial linear representation. The progressive alignment of scales may alleviate the conceptual ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Hotspot Lesson: Mantle Plumes
Jamie A. Russell, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Related Links Relative Dating Hotspot Theory and Plate Velocities Samoan Hotspot Final Hotspot Project View Lesson Plan at ERESE ...
This lesson introduces the theory of mantle plumes and possible ways of finding evidence to support the theory.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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