January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

Geologic Time Scale

Posted: Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

by Bonny Ralston

Looking at the geologic time scale can be overwhelming for younger students; 4.6 billion years ago has little meaning on its own.  Students can be introduced to large periods of time by accessing information a little at a time. Students also need to become familiar with the conditions for each of the different time periods, and they can accomplish these goals by working together by working in small groups to bring each era to life.

Timeline: Up to 3 or 4 days depending on how far you want to engage students.  Some work can be done at home, while group work is done in class.

Intro: To begin, have students create a timeline about the 10 to 15 most significant events in their lives (15 minutes).  Have them turn to a partner and tell them about the most important event so far (trade).

Through: Create groups of four students.  Each group will create an “adding machine paper” timeline strip.  Each group will measure out 4.6 meters of adding machine paper.  Have groups draw a straight line across the bottom of the paper.  Label the end as 4.6 BYA (billion).  This is the beginning of the Precambrian Era.  Continue to label each geologic event.  Add a small picture that represents an event for the time.  (Hints: allow for a lot of space for students to spread out the timeline so all students can complete their part.  If you have a long hallway outside your room, this works well.)

4.6 BYA Precambrian

3.9BYA Oldest known rock

3.5 BYA Single cell organism

1.0 BYA Multicellular organisms (algae develop)

530 MYA First vertebrates appear

225 MYA Pangea begins to break up.

50 MYA First whales appear

10,000 YA Last ice age ends

Alternative Models:

  • Use a large sheet of paper to create a clock.  Have the hours represent the passage of time as recorded for each hour.
  • Determine the time elapsed in different modalities.  Students will model geologic time periods.  Examples: (Timelines) use a clock (with hands) to represent time periods (based on length).  What does each hour represent? Remember that it may take more or less than one hour to represent an event.
  • Use your own lifespan to determine eras.  Time in elementary school + time in middle school + high school + career goals.  Use your imagination.
  • Create a railroad track or racetrack (etc).  You can use any model you wish including a 3-D model (from top to bottom) or writing a story through time.

Beyond: These activities can be completed at home.  Each can use different presentations based on student interest.  PowerPoint, comic book, small poster, or research paper.  Allow students to use any modality possible.

Research a Geological Time Period

Which geological time period will you research?

What were the major geological events of that time period?

What did the earth’s surface look like then?

What was the climate like?

What were the dominant organisms living in that time?

What was the environment like compared to present day?

What are the main things travelers might see?

What should travelers pack for comfort and safety?

This can be a creative writing piece, a story, or report format.

(Attach rough draft)

A Travel Brochure  (For a selected Geological Time period)

What is the geologic time period?

Describe the general design of your brochure.

Tell what kinds of information will you include in your brochure.

Tell how you will encourage people to visit your geological time period.

Describe and tell the purpose of each illustration you plan to make for you brochure.

Describe the illustrations and tell why they are important.  Choose wisely.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

One Response

  1. I really like the Travel Brochure idea for the different periods. I’m going to use it in my classroom.
    Thanks for the idea.

Leave a Reply

LATEST POST

STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching.

Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Opportunities to Support NGSS Implementation with CTC

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

What follows are several opportunities for science teachers to work with the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) on various projects that have direct or indirect implications for the implementation of NGSS in California. Please consider applying to one or more of the following opportunities.

CSET Field Testing Opportunities

Field testing opportunities for future CSET Multiple Subjects and Science tests are available beginning Dec. 5, 2016. Participants will have the choice between a $50 Barnes and Noble eGift Card or a $75 test fee voucher that may be applied to future test registration fees. For more information, including how to register to participate, please visit: http://www.pearsonvue.com/espilot/cset.asp. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.

If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Science Education Policy Update

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.

California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing

The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.