It's About Time

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Resource Type:Classroom Activities; Curricula and Instruction
Grade Level:
5 6 7 8
Organization:American Geosciences Institute (AGI); Earth Science Week (ESW); National Park Service (NPS)
Summary:Geologic time can be difficult for people to understand. Our own lives are so short when we compare them to the age of the Earth, that the hundreds of millions of years of geologic time are almost too much to grasp. But for us to understand Earth activities today, we must have at least some basic understanding of geologic time. For example, how can we predict the effect of human activities on the global climate without understanding past climate changes and periods of mass extinction? By studying the past, we can better understand the present and more accurately predict future changes. Scientists do not measure geologic time on a clock or calendar. They use a timeline that is based on the age of rocks and the fossils found in those rocks. The geologic timeline also includes the changes in life that occurred over millions of years. To understand how a timeline works, you will make a personal timeline and compare it to the geologic timeline shown here.
Earth Science Big Ideas:Big Idea 2; Big Idea 4
NGSS Discplinary Core Ideas:ESS1.C
NGSS Performance Expectations:MS-ESS1-4
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:Scale, proportion, and quantity
Subjects: 6-8; climate; earth science week; geologic time; geology; middle school
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