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Geologic Time Activities


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Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Earth History Timeline
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Question The Earth is about 4.6 billion years old. Let's try to get a perspective on how long that really is. A roll of good quality toilet paper has 1000 squares. If the roll of toilet paper represents the ...

Demonstration of radioactive decay using pennies
Jennifer Wenner, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
A demonstration (with full class participation) to illustrate radioactive decay by flipping coins. Shows students visually the concepts of exponential decay, half-life and randomness. Works best in large classes – the more people, the better.

Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Age of the Earth
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Question The Earth is about 4.6 billion years old. Let's try to get a perspective on how long that really is. Suppose that you decided to count to 4.6 billion and that you counted 1 number every second. How ...

Relative vs. Numerical Dating and Geochronology with Beads
Karen Viskupic, Boise State University
Students use relative dating principles to interpret the ages of rocks in a block diagram. They then "date" samples from these rocks to test their relative age hypotheses. Sample dating is done by ...

Drawing unconformities
Gina Szablewski, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
Thess simple sketches are used in class to show the development of different unconformities.

Exploring the nature of geoscience using cartoon cards
Anne Egger, Central Washington University
In this activity, students work in groups to put a set of cartoon cards in order, much in the way that we might assemble a geologic history. The primary goal of the activity is to explore the nature of science in general and the nature of geoscience or historical science specifically, without requiring any content knowledge.

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 ...

Investigating the Geologic Time Scale: Creating posters to Display Trends in Geologic Time
kim Atkins
This observational inquiry activity involving careful descriptions of rocks and fossil including age will be used to create a scalar accurate geologic time scale. Students will observe and learn that the geologic time scale was created based on changes in fossil, rock, and atmospheric changes.

Presenting the Geologic Timescale
Laura Guertin, Catherine Nguyen (Pennsylvania State University Delaware County) - Starting Point Page by Rebecca Teed (SERC)
This project has students model the geologic timescale using distance as a metaphor for time. Students give presentions spaced at distances which represent how far apart in time the events occurred. -

Quantitative Classroom Exercises
Steven Schafersman, University of Texas of the Permian Basin, The
The four exercises give students an opportunity to use their knowledge of graphs, algebra, and maps to solve simple geological problems.


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