UCMP has a fabulous collection of web resources related to geologic time and paleontology called “Explorations Through Time”. Their description describes how these modules “explore the history of life on Earth, while focusing on the processes of science. Each module contains suggested lesson plans and an extensive teacher’s guide.” All are extremely well written and well worth a teacher’s time. This lesson is based on the “Understanding Geologic Time” lesson from this series.
For more information about radiometric dating, see:
- The USGS provides excellent overview of radiometric dating.
- How Stuff Works provides a very accessible overview of Carbon-14 dating in particular.
Investigation and Experimentation
Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:
g Interpret events by sequence and time from natural phenomena (e.g., the relative ages of rocks and intrusions).
Earth and Life History (Earth Sciences)
Evidence from rocks allows us to understand the evolution of life on Earth. As a basis for understanding this concept:
b Students know the history of life on Earth has been disrupted by major catastrophic events, such as major volcanic eruptions or the impact of an asteroid.
c Students know the rock cycle includes the formation of new sediment and rocks. Rocks are often found in layers with the oldest generally on the bottom.
d Students know evidence from geologic layers and radioactive dating indicate the Earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old, and that life has existed for more than 3 billion years.
e Students know fossils provide evidence of how life and environmental conditions have changed.
g Students know how to explain significant developments and extinctions of plant and animal life on the geologic time scale.