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The National Park Service brings you information on geologic time and how we tell the age of the Earth. Learn about fundamental geologic concepts, view a geologic time module, view a video on the Big Ideas in Geoscience, and look at fossils and rocks throughout geologic time.
Grade Level   K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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2
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...
Grade Level   5 6 7 8
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3
Published in 2018
Any evidence of past life preserved in a geologic context, such as within rock or sediment, is called a fossil. In this activity, you will work as a paleontologist -- a scientist who studies fossils to understand ancient landscapes, climate, and life on Earth — to find and identify fossils. The...
Grade Level   K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
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4
"Unraveling time and the Earth's biologic history are arguably geology's most important contributions to humanity. Yet it is very difficult for humans to appreciate time beyond that of one or two generations, much less hundreds, thousands, millions and billions of years. Perhaps we can only hope...
Grade Level   5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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5
At the close of the 18th century, the haze of fantasy and mysticism that tended to obscure the true nature of the Earth was being swept away. Careful studies by scientists showed that rocks had diverse origins. Some rock layers, containing clearly identifiable fossil remains of fish and other forms...
Grade Level   5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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6
"Have you ever seen a fossil? A fossil is any evidence of past life preserved in sediments or rocks. Do you think you could have dinosaur fossils in your family car’s gas tank? Did you ever hear that oil and natural gas are “fossil fuels”? Do you think oil and natural gas can be made from...
Grade Level   3 4 5 6 7 8
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7
A fossil is any evidence of past life preserved in a geologic context, such as within rock or sediment. This activity allows you to explore the process used by paleontologists — scientists who study fossils to understand ancient landscapes, climate, and life on Earth — to find and identify...
Grade Level   K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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8
Explore mountain ranges and why they become so big.
Grade Level   9 10 11 12
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9
Paleontologists are the geoscientists who discover and study fossil evidence of past life. Sometimes they even find the footprints of dinosaurs that roamed the surface of the Earth long ago. Ever wonder how paleontologists are able to determine, based on fossil evidence, whether a particular...
Grade Level   7 8 9 10
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10
Published in 2018
What fossils — evidence of past plant or animal life — can be found in your region, state, city, or neighborhood? You can find out by visiting the websites of organizations like the National Park Service, your state geological survey, and the Paleobiology Database. As a class, discuss how the...
Grade Level   5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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