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Students will understand the timeline of the earths geological features.
Elementary students have difficulty understanding classifications of time beyond their own lifespan. Ten years, a hundred years, a million yearsall are a long, long time to them. The Science Core requires that they use a time line to identify the sequence and time required for building and breaking down of geological features on Earth (Standard 2, objective 3, indicator c). This is difficult when some features change astonishingly quickly, like during an avalanche or earthquake, and other features take millions of years to change. This lesson focuses on the slow changes by introducing the students to the 4.5‐billion‐year geological history of the earth. Learning the names of the periods and eras is not important, but by using them, students recognize that many features of the earth have changed extremely slowly! Important changes involving plants and animals are also mentioned; these help link student learning to prior and later years science curricula and engage students who are more interested in biological events than geological ones. Note: The periods of the Earths geological history have been subdivided into smaller categories than the ones presented here. Because knowing these names is not core‐required, this lesson presents only the general categories with occasional subcategory names.
Invitation to Learn:
Pose the following question to students: "What do you know about the history of the earth? Not its people, but the earth itself?" Make a chart listing the students' knowledge, breaking it down into categories of plants, animals, and geology. Lead them to include major events like earthquakes and tsunamis, and anything they know about the formation of the mountains and continents or the earth itself. Decide a way to color code their facts by underlining those that happened during their lifetime one color, during recorded human history another color, and by those that happened before recorded history a third color. (This activity could be done whole class or in small groups, with each group making a chart and presenting it to the entire class.)
Lesson and Activity Time Schedule:
Activity Connected to Lesson:
Students will make a layered foldable book with a page for each of the seven time periods taught in the lesson. Directions for making a layered foldable are available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N0X3DkXNtM. For this foldable, have students use four whole pages for their books, and have them make a three‐column chart for each page. One column is for information about plant life, one column is for information about animal life, and one column is for information about geological events. Allow them to refer to the literacy pages to gather information from their pages, and assign them to illustrate each page and write the name of the geological time period on the tab part of the page at the bottom.