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Geologic Time Activities


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Roping Geologic Time
Randall Richardson, The University of Arizona
After having talked about the geologic time scale, I ask for two volunteers from the class to hold a rope that is 50 feet long. I say that one end is the beginning of the Earth (4.6 billion years ago), and the other is today. I then give out 16 clothes pins and ask various students to put a cloths pin on the 'time line' at various 'geologic events'. Throughout the activity I have a quiz going on where the students calculate percentages of Earth History for major geologic events, and compare it to their own ages. On their time scale, the dinosaurs died only about two 'months' ago! The exercise is very effective at letting them get a sense of how long geologic time is, and how 'recently' some major geologic events happened when you consider a time scale that is the age of the earth.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Relative Geologic Time and the Geologic Time Scale
Bret Bennington, Hofstra University
Group simulation of the development of the geologic time scale illustrating concepts of correlation and relative time. Extremely effective for teaching the significance of the geologic time scale.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Geologic Time Calculations
Francisco San Juan, Elizabeth City State University
Radiometric age determination using parent/daughter composition and a radiometric decay curve.

Metaphor for the geologic time scale
Cara Thompson
Students choose an object or concept that they are familiar with (e.g., football field, pint of beer, etc) and calculate the cumulative amount of that object or concept that represents intervals of geologic time. ...

Learning Assessment #5 - Geologic Time (2011)
Leslie Reid, University of Calgary; Michelle Speta, University of Alberta
An in-class activity that tests students' understanding of the principles of relative age, absolute age and numerical age bracketing.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
Learn more about this review process.

South Carolina Studies: Bringing the Geologic Time Scale Down to Earth in the Students' Backyard
John Wagner, Clemson University
Students visit Drayton Hall historic plantation near Charleston, South Carolina and are led on a field trip that starts with a discussion of documented historic changes that have affected the mansion and the surrounding property. The field trip continues with a study of Native American artifacts and ends with analysis of coastal plain deposits exposed along the Ashley River. Students use paleogeographic maps to discuss both historic and prehistoric changes to the landscape. Back in the classroom, students gather data to draw paleogeographic maps of their own school site through geologic time.

Geologic Time Discussion Analogies
Noah Fay, Pima Community College
This is 4 ppt slides used to facilitate discussion w/students about the immensity of geologic time. I ask them a series of leading questions and try to get them to do "mental math" in order to grasp the ...

Geologic Time Resorts
JoAnn Thissen, Nassau Community College
In this Geologic Time Resorts activity students do in-depth research on a given geologic time period of the Phanerozoic Eon and create brochures "selling" their time period as a resort destination.

Implementing A Constructivist Teaching Model For Conceptualizing Geologic Time
John Pecore
The activity fosters middle learning students critical thinking and allows for student generated essential questions to further their understanding of Earth's history and geologic time.

Toilet Paper Analogy for Geologic Time
Jennifer Wenner, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
An in class demonstration of the vastness of geologic time using a 1000-roll sheet of toilet paper and unrolling it around the room.

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