are welcome to use these ideas in your classroom, within your science
department, within your school district, or to distribute to any
teacher who may find these lessons useful. I only ask that:
1. You cannot sell these lessons or make a profit on them in any way.
2. You cite the lessons original source, and do not white-out the
copyright footer on the pdf files
3. Do not copy and paste lessons onto your website. A link to the
original is to be used.
4. Do not claim these lessons as your own work. NOTE: This disclaimer is
modeled after a couple of my favorite websites: The Science
Spot and Middle School Science. Thanks, teachers!
Email mefor a comprehensive Relative Dating
Teaching Idea which includes much of what is discussed here!
One of the most
teaching geologic History is distinguishing between Relative and
Absolute Time. This Study Guide covers that topic using my textbook, Heath
Earth Science.Click here.
I've given up on the boring Study Guide approach. Click
a PowerPoint covering the
"Rules of the Game." Click
the PowerPoint FollowSheet. Show the PowerPoint before doing
the Fact Sheet.
You'll want to
teach how to
sequence rock layers during this unit. You can make your own or surf
the Web for other images you could use. Earth Science textbooks usually
contain exercises covering this topic also. All mine are copyrighted
worksheets so none are included here.
A good way to
of rock sequencing is to present each step with a separate sketch. We
usually just give students the finished product and many students have
trouble with seeing how the finished diagram came to be. Here are a
couple of good sequencing games. I give each team the four sketches
along with 4 sticky notes. They have to put the sketches in order and
put a sticky label with each sketch explaining what cause the change in
each sketch. Click here for the first
game and click
here for the second game.
These are in worksheet form. Run off and cut out for the game. I use as
many teams as I need to put 4 or 5 in a team--often 5 or 6 teams, each
identified by a different color.
You'll want to
do a Fossil Lab
this point so that when you do a timeline later, they will be able to
relate to "Trilobites" or "Crinoids." Click
for a simple version. We use teacher-made Fossil
Identification Booklets but I don't have a pdf version of them.
Here is a review
from our textbook,Heath Earth
Science. Click here
for my version.
I don't use this too often anymore. Don't see the need for quiet
seatwork when we could be doing something more lasting,
like a game or
lab or powerpoint or other more active activity.
You might want
to show the film
a nice break from the usual routine. These
are courtesy of Stephen
Dilks, another earth science teacher in my building. Thanks,
review of many of the concepts we've been covering in our Geology Unit.
Email mefor a comprehensive Absolute Dating
Teaching Idea which includes
several activities including a Tree Ring Activity and an Absolute
You'll want to
by scientists to measure absolute time. This
covering concepts from
our textbook. This
is a worksheet from Glencoe that also covers
this topic. This
Glencoe site has great stuff. Worth a bit of a "surf" around their site
for good material!
is a brand new Cut & Paste Fact Sheet covering three main ways
determine Absolute Age.Click
Absolute Time Fact Sheet. Short & Sweet! Gets the job done.
good version of a half-life lab using
pennies in shoe boxes. If you make up seven boxes for seven lab groups,
you'll need seven
dollars in pennies. This is such a common standardized test subject, so
it's worth covering well.
calculations of half-life. Click here
on how to teach your
students to calculate
half-life using a simple table. Hand this form out to your students
along with the matching
Have the entire
class stand up
the center of the room, all huddled together. Then touch the shoulders
of students and have them step out of the "huddle" and stand around the
outside of the room. Eliminate half at a time. As each "half-life" is
completed, pause and ask them what just happened. You can either tell
them what you are doing. or continue on, taking half out each time, and
pausing for them to figure it out. How many half-lives to completely
"decay" our class? If one half-life takes about 1 minute, how "old" is
taught all the
a timeline exercise is a nice change of pace. Usually takes one or two
class periods. We assign either the Missouri
timeline or Earth timeline to
various pairs of students.
The Earth timeline
is 5 meters long and a bit more difficult. The Missouri is two meters.
I usually don't do more than a couple of the five meter timelines per
class. We have the students make the timelines and then answer the Timeline
It might be
worth the trouble for you to make up one similar to my Missouri version
for your own state's geologic history. Click
here for a Timeline Scoring Guide.
We've also done Universe Timelines and Human History Timelines.
to assign when
Timelines are finished. Click here.
the game pieces. Run off
on colored paper and cut out. I cut out the Eras and the
characteristics separately, then have teams assemble them in order with
corresponding characteristics. I also have sketches (copyrighted) that
I also run off as game pieces. I hand the pieces out clipped together
and when they open them, I don't tell them what to do with the pieces.
"Figure out what to do." They do a great job with this! Gets them up
and moving and thinking as a team!
Assign each team
of students an
and give them 5 minutes to come up with a pantomime illustrating at
least two geological and two biological events from the Era. No words
or sound effects this time! Have the other students guess which Era is
being dramatized. Good way to review the main geological and biological
characteristics of the Eras.