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Unit Activities: Earth's History

by Jon Stern

New Paltz High School, New York


Unit Objectives

Use the principles of relative dating to reconstruct the geologic history of a region.

Retrieve and interpret information about the earth's history from appropriate resources.

Recognize the characteristics of an index fossil.

Construct a complete geologic column from several widely spaced outcrops.

Understand how the variety of life on earth has changed over time.

Determine the age of a rock from radioactive decay data.

"C" Level Work (45 points maximum)

(underlined assignments are mandatory)

(*check the rubrics for this activity)

Take notes for each lesson: (10 points) *

Principles of Relative Dating

Correlating Rock

Absolute Dating

Lab: Relative Dating (5 points- lab)

Lab: Bedrock Correlation: (5 points- lab)

Worksheet: Earth's History: (5 points)*

Create a web page or PowerPoint presentation: (5 points)* The page should include information from one of the unit lectures.

Flash Cards: (5 points)* Create flash cards using the following words or terms- Principle of Superposition, Principle of Cross-Cutting Relationships, Principle of Original Horizontality, Unconformity, Half Life, Radioactivity, Rock Correlation, Index Fossil, Evolution

Book Work: (5 points)* Read or listen to Relative-Age Dating of Rocks on Pp. 557-561 and complete study guide 21-2.

Video: Historical Geology: A Glimpse of the Earth's Past (5 points) Watch the video and complete the accompanying worksheet. The video can be accessed online at www.unitedstreaming.org. Type in the username newpaltzhigh and the password streaming and type in the name of the video in the search field to locate it.

Book Work: (5 points)* Read or listen to Absolute-Age Dating of Rocks on Pp. 562-565 and complete study guide 21-3.

Web Site Activities: (5 points each)* Go to the Earth's History Unit on the class web site and follow any of the following links: What Stories do Rocks Tell (ES2903) or How Has Life Changed Over Geologic Time (ES3002). Be sure to write out the questions.

Internet Lab: Virtual Dating Isochron: (5 points-lab) Go to the Earth's History Unit on the class web site and follow the Virtual Datinge link. Complete the activity online and print out the certificate once it has been completed.

Barronsregents.com On-line Practice Quiz: (5 points) Go to the Earth's History Unit on the class web site and follow the link to barronsregents.com. Log in or register if you have not yet done so (there is an $11.95 one time fee). Follow the links to the Earth's History Quiz and complete on line. You will be allowed to make corrections.

"B" Level Work (10 points maximum)*

Geologic Time Scale: (10 points) Construct a geologic time scale using adding machine tape, a picture of a clock, football field or other object that can be given a scale. You must include at least 15 major events in geologic history. Your diagram should be neat and should include drawings or pictures. You must include your calculations.

Stratigraphic Column: (10 points) Create a diagram that shows a geologic cross section of the Catskills. Be sure to label each layer with how old it is (or the name of the Period it is from) and the name of the rock from which it is made. You must also draw the layers with their correct rock symbols. Finally include a brief 2 paragraph description of the geologic history of the Catskills based on the diagram

"A" Level Work (15 points maximum)*

What evidence is there for the theory that an asteroid impact caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? (15 points)

What are some common NY fossils and what do they tell us about NY's geologic history? (15 points)

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