Initial Publication Date: August 13, 2014

Lab 5: (Geologic) Timing Is Everything!

The lab activity was developed by Jeff Lockwood of TERC and Alison Mote of the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders for the EarthLabs project.

Summary and Learning Objectives

In Part A, students develop a timeline of Earth's geologic history. In Part B, they take a section of their timeline that encompasses the data taken from Expedition 341--the Neogene-Quaternary time period.

After completing this Lab, students should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What major events in Earth's geologic history shaped our planet and enabled life to evolve?
  • What were the major climate events during the past 23 million years?
  • How does the scope of human civilization compare to the entirely of geologic time?

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Activity Overview and Teaching Materials

Detailed overview of what students will do in each lab activity, how long it will take, and what materials are required to complete the lab.

Printable Materials

Download and print files needed for each lab activity, including images, data tables, and Stop and Think questions.

Teaching Notes and Tips

What you need to prepare ahead of time, and general recommendations for classroom implementation, as well as guidelines and facilitation tips for leading class discussions.

Student Notebooks

Suggestions for how to use Student Notebooks for Lab 5.


There are several options for assessment of student understanding of material introduced in this lab. Choose from the following list, or create your own assessments.

Science Standards

Lab 5 supports the following Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):

Additional Resources

Explore background information and content extensions related to Lab 2.