Teach the Earth > Early Earth > Classroom Activities

Activities for teaching about the Early Earth

This collection of activities contains materials used to teach about earth's history, evolution and extinction, geologic timelines, and methods used to date geologic events. We are seeking teaching materials that address early earth topics. Do you have a favorite teaching activity you'd like to share? Please help us expand this collection by sharing your own teaching materials.

You may also find useful information about references and resources for teaching about the early earth and ideas for creating early earth teaching activities.


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Results 1 - 20 of 148 matches

Biozones, stratigraphic log correlation, and corresponding interpretation of paleoenvironments. part of Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
This exercise is a guided opportunity for any number of students (even hundreds) to start using recently learned, lower-level knowledge about stratigraphy and biostratigraphy in an integrative, interpretation ...

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Hierarchical Alignment of Timelines part of Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
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 ...

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The Evolution of Earth through Time part of Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
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 ...

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Radiocarbon dating project part of Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
This is an example of an activity used in a Quaternary Geochronology course, in which a small group of students (3-4) is tasked with transforming a set of activity measurements into radiocarbon ages and calibrated ...

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Depositional Environments and Geologic History Labs part of Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
This is a pair of labs that incrementally prepare students to interpret the geologic history of a rock sequence. The first lab introduces students to depositional environments and fossils. The second lab presents a ...

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How Many Is A Million? part of Rates and Time:Visualizations with Teaching Notes
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 ...

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Determining Earthquake Recurrence Intervals from Trench Logs part of Rates and Time:GSA Activity Posters
Trench logs of the San Andreas Fault at Pallett Creek, CA are the data base for a lab or homework assignment that teaches about relative dating, radiometric dating, fault recurrence intervals and the reasons for uncertainty in predicting geologic phenomena. Students are given a trench log that includes several fault strands and dated stratigraphic horizons. They estimate the times of faulting based on bracketing ages of faulted and unfaulted strata. They compile a table with the faulting events from the trench log and additional events recognized in nearby trenches, then calculate maximum, minimum and average earthquake recurrence intervals for the San Andreas Fault in this area. They conclude by making their own prediction for the timing of the next earthquake.

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Field Trip to Enfield Glen, NY Finger Lakes Region part of Geoscience in the Field:Activities
This is a 2.5 hour field trip in which students search through strata of the Upper Devonian Catskill Delta for paleocurrent indicators that allow them to infer paleogeographic differences between Devonian and ...

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When and How Did Continental Crust Form? part of Petrology:Teaching Examples
Many models have been proposed regarding the timing and mechanisms that first formed the continental crust. The purpose of this exercise is to help students explore the question of crustal genesis and evolution ...

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Relative Geologic Time and the Geologic Time Scale part of Paleontology:Activities
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.

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Relative Age-dating -- Discovery of Important Stratigraphic Principles part of Introductory Courses:Activities
Students don't have to be passively taught the important principles geologists use to do relative age-dating of rocks and geologic events. By careful analysis and critical thinking about photos and ...

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Hometown Geology part of Introductory Courses:Activities
This is an extra credit assignment for students to learn details about the geology of their hometown.

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Observations and Measurements in Geology part of Introductory Courses:Activities
This exercise gives students an introduction to topics they will encounter throughout the semester, and future course work. It covers plate tectonics, weathering, and basic rock descriptions.

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Physical Geology: Idaho Field Trip part of Introductory Courses:Activities
Optional field trip to local sites of geologic interest/relevance.

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Lifelines and "Earth lines" part of Affective Domain:Activities
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.

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Understanding Radioactivity in Geology: The Basics of Decay part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
PowerPoint module leading students through creation and manipulation of spreadsheet to forward model an example of exponential decay—the number of remaining unpopped kernels of popcorn in a bag of popping popcorn.

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Living with Volcanoes: An Introduction to Geoarchaeology part of Environmental Geology:Activities
This activity introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of geoarchaeology through a case study of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 CE. It combines short lectures with questions requiring analyses of a ...

Learning Assessment #8 - Concept Map (2011) part of Introductory Courses:Activities
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 ...

Learning Assessment #6 - Geologic Time (2010) part of Introductory Courses:Activities
An in-class activity that tests students' understanding of the principles of relative age, absolute age and numerical age dating.

Multiple temporal scales of landscapes and landforms part of Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
This exercise provides students with a timescale and list of geomorphic landforms and processes. The activity requires that students utilize their knowledge of process-driving mechanisms to place landforms and ...

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