Illustrative Examples of Units of
Understanding Geologic Time
The following unit of practice
examines the geological past of the Earth by focusing on the Geological Time Scale.
Students will create a time scale of their lives and, with the use of the Internet,
examine the Earths time periods. Students will then demonstrate their knowledge
through the use of a computer based program (Power Point) or a poster. Students
will gain knowledge of past tectonic activity, and the Geological Time Scale.
This will allow students to better understand the significance of a time period
(eon, era, period, epoch) in the geological record and the importance of the boundary
Learning Levels: Grades 7-9
Author(s): John Jennings
Students often have a hard
time conceptualizing geological time and the events of the past. This unit will
hopefully answer the questions "Have you ever wondered why have geologists
divided the geological past into different sections?" and "Why do we
know more about the last few million years of time than what happened 100s
of millions of years ago?"
Students will learn to work in-group settings.
Students will gain knowledge in designing presentations
be they Power Point or posters.
Students will gain an understanding of Geologic Time.
This Unit of Practice takes
between 4 and 6 hours of class time. The initial writing assignment can be discussed
in small groups in order to facilitate the flow of ideas. The final project can
be presented in two ways. If computer technology and the Internet are available,
then information can be gathered and then presented with a LCD projector. If such
technology is unavailable, most encyclopedias will carry the information and a
poster can be created displaying the data. More time may be need if the students
are to learn Power Point or a related computer presentation program.
The teacher introduces the topic by examining his/her life,
charting the history and by delineating time periods with major events. Students
are then asked to design a timeline of events in their lives. Students can initially
work in groups to help facilitate the creation of possible topics and delineating
Once students have completed the above writing activity,
a copy of the Geologic Time Scale is shown and discussed.
The students are then grouped to research one of the time
periods (depending on the size of the class research can be done using eras,
periods, epochs). Several appropriate web sites are listed below (See Tools).
Students should examine major tectonic event, types of animals/plants, index
fossils, and rock localities.
The data can then be presented using power point or can
be displayed on a poster. This activity will take between 2 3 hours depending
on the abilities of the class.
Students will discuss their writing assignments in a collaborative
Students will examine several web sites that discuss geological
Students will work in their groups to develop their presentation
on their specific time period.
Students will share information to the class in a formal
Students will be assessed
on the completion of the initial writing assignment, and the successful completion
of a PowerPoint presentation. They can also be assessed on class presentation
and group work. Assessment of the presentation may also be facilitated by peer
Computers with Internet hook
up and Power Point and an LCD projector. The work can also be completed using
encyclopedias and creating posters for display.
The following is a list of good web sites.
A good all around site
A site showing tectonic boundaries and ancient plate reconfiguration.