Geologic Time

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The lesson introduces students to geologic time and helps them to comprehend the tremendous amount of time that has passed during the history of the Earth.  For many students, it may be difficult to realize Geologic time is a relative concept and can be better understood when comparing it to a shorter timeframe, like a day, month, or year.   The lesson includes the major eras along with the periods, as well as important events in each.  Depending on the level of your students, you may or may not require the students to memorize each time-period; however, identifying the order of events would be helpful.

Geologic Time Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about Geologic Time
  • Hands-on homework activities
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 4-6 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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Description

The fascinating lesson helps students realize Geologic time is a relative concept and can be better understood when comparing it to a shorter time frame, like a day, month, or year.  The lesson includes the major eras along with the periods, as well as important events in each.  Depending on the level of your students, you may or may not require the students to memorize each time-period; however, identifying the order of events would be helpful.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction: 

  1. Ask: How old is the Earth?  How long do you believe living organisms have occupied the Earth?
  2. Allow for responses and discussion. Encourage students to think about the question before answering.  Ask:  Do you believe there has always been life on Earth?
  3. Allow for responses and discussion. Ask:  How many years do you think is a long time?
  4. Allow for responses and discussion. Introduce Geologic Time.
  5. Distribute Geologic Time content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  6. Distribute Activity page. Read and review the instructions.  Pair students.  Distribute supplies.  Guide students to creating a realistic scale for the time line.
  7. During the work, assign each pair of students a time-period to further research. Allow access to the Internet.  Remind students to find additional information that was not included in the content pages.  They will present the information to the class following completion of all time lines.
  8. Once all students have completed the time lines and research, scheduled each pair of students for a class presentation. Allow about 2 to 3 minutes for each presentation.
  9. Display the completed time lines.
  10. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.

Common Core State Standards: 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3      CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.5   CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3   CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.7

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3      CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.2   CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.3   CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.7

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.2     CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6.4   CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6.10

Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 2 class sessions

Additional Resources:

Want more science resources? Check out our other Science Lesson Plans!

Additional information

Grade Level

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade

Subject

Science

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JC
08/13/2018
Jessica C.
US

Love these plans

I recently discovered Clarendon Learning and the resources that they provide are excellent! I can't wait to incorporate the ideas into my teaching.