Students will construct an explanation based on evidence from rock strata and the fossil record to explain the geologic time scale and age of the Earth. This unit addresses the NGSS middle school standard from Earth’s Place in the Universe strand. Aligned with NGSS and Utah SEEd.
MS-ESS1-4. Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth’s 4.6-billion-year-old history. SEE an example of teaching Age of the Earth here.
Utah SEEd 7.2.6
Make an argument from evidence for how the geologic time scale shows the age and history of Earth. Emphasize scientific evidence from rock strata, the fossil record, and the principles of relative dating such as superposition, uniformitarianism, and recognizing unconformities.
This unit includes an informative slideshow on the methods scientists use to find the age of the Earth. Students will also have three pages on nonfiction text passages with comprehension questions. Students will use computational thinking to make a scaled-down timeline of the major events in Earth’s history and they will construct scientific explanations on the age of the Earth. This unit ends with a two-page assessment in a format similar to the end of year testing.
This resource also includes response pages, interactive notebook inserts, lesson plans in the 5-E format, and answer keys.
Science topics addressed include:
Age of Earth
Law of Superposition
Principle of Cross-cutting relationships
Principle of Original Horizontality
Isotopes and half-life
Geologic Time Scale
Major Events in Earth History
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