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Geologic Time Activities


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Learning Assessment #6 - Geologic Time (2010)
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 dating.

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.

South Carolina Studies: Bringing the Geologic Time Scale Down to Earth in the Students' Backyard
South Carolina Studies - Bringing the Geologic Time Scale Down to Earth in the Students' Backyard: John R. Wagner, Clemson University Intended Audience: This exercise is suitable for the general public, though ...

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 ...

Driving Through Geologic Time - An analogy
Eric Baer, Highline Community College
An analogy of the Earth's history to a cross-country drive.

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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Lifelines and "Earth lines"
LeeAnn Srogi, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
This activity can be used as a first lab for an introductory-level geoscience course. It is a cooperative ice-breaker gets students to know one another and opens discussion for geologic time and earth history.

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.

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.

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.
Learn more about this review process.


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