Relative Dating on Earth and Mars


Radioactive Dating Looking at Half-Lives Using M&Ms

Specific rock formations are indicative of a particular type of environment existing when the rock was being formed. Once this is done, students have some post questions they are given that they should record in their science notebook. State the Law of Superposition and explain how this activity illustrates this law.

Sequencing the rock layers will show students how paleontologists use fossils to give relative dates to rock strata. Students graph, post questions, and data table will be looked at. We will also focus on Earth's interior and how, through the use of seismic data, we have come to understand the different properties of plate tectonics. Spread the cards with the nonsense syllables on the table and determine the correct sequence of the eight cards by comparing letters that are common to individual cards and, therefore, overlap.

We will also focus on the different agents of erosion and be able to identify the geologic features that each of them create over time. Then students take the class data and create a graph comparing the number of parent isotopes to the number of half-lives. Daughter isotopes are represented by the M side down stable.


This will enable your teacher to quickly check whether you have the correct sequence. Each card represents a particular rock layer with a collection of fossils that are found in that particular rock stratum. We will place emphasis on the different types of volcanoes around the world and the potential hazards that they impose on mankind. By using this information from rock formations in various parts of the world and correlating the studies, scientists have been able to establish the geologic time scale.

The lesson starts with a brief introduction into dating techniques, eventually flowing into a distinction between relative and absolute dating which will be discussed again later in the unit. By correlating fossils from various parts of the world, scientists are able to give relative ages to particular strata. Big Idea Students discuss the differences between relative and absolute dating, and figure out how geologists date rock layers in this introductory lesson. In the second part of the activity, students progress to dating rock layers by sequencing fossils found in the different strata. In this activity, students gain a better understanding of radioactive dating and half-lives.

In order to align this activity more closely to this practice, teachers should require students to explain and justify each step of their timeline. Time factors of millions and billions of years is difficult even for adults to comprehend. In what kinds of rocks might you find the fossils from this activity? By matching partial sequences, the truly oldest layers with fossils can be worked out.

Eighth grade Lesson Introduction To Relative Dating

Lesson Introduction

During each trial, students record the number of radioactive parent isotopes and record this in a data table. In this activity, students begin a sequencing activity with familiar items - letters written on cards. This is the first, and one of the most important, lessons in the new unit.

Both parts of the activity can be completed in one class period. They not only enjoyed this activity, but they really gained a better understanding of it as well. All of the fossils represented would be found in sedimentary rocks of marine origin.

Students who finish early are encouraged to work on the exit ticket resource below and double-check their responses. Students should recognize each time the number should go down by appx half. In this topic we will focus on long term weather patterns and see how the changing Earth is responsible for creating unique areas of our planet. Time, space, and energy phenomena can be observed at various scales using models to study systems that are too large or too small.

Find a rock layer that has at least one of the fossils you found in the oldest rock layer. In many respects, I find that students readily enjoy the focus that starting with a quiet classrooms brings each day. This topic will review concepts in earth science that have previously been discussed and will expand upon the principles that help us interpret planet Earth. Multi-touch books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iPad. This topic will help you learn about Earth's true shape, the different spheres in and around Earth and interpreting various types of maps.

Relative dating Science Learning Hub

  • In this topic we will look at surface processes and the mechanisms that help shape our planet Earth.
  • That also means if the layers are not flat, something has happened to them.
  • Moreover, minerals and rocks are an important first step in understanding other topics in geology that will be discussed later.
  • We will also focus on agents of erosion and be able to identify their different geologic features.
  • From its early formation to present, Earth has undergone extreme changes and evolved to be one of the most unique planets in our solar system.

Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena. Once all groups data is on the table, you can calculate the average for each run and determine a class average. Once this info is calculated, online free students create a graph comparing the class average of parent isotopes to the number of half-lives. They then see some new vocabulary and get to practice applying it before closing out for the day.

New information needed to be introduced with parent and daughter isotopes. As we move throughout the year, we will revisit these concepts and apply our knowledge to specific topics. The activity helps students to understand that long spans of geologic time can be broken down into more manageable segments by using relative ages. This topic will help you learn the basic skills of reading and interpreting maps.

Would you like to take a short survey

After students take a few seconds to track their scores, we usually wrap up in a similar way. Moreover, we will focus in on the Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming and relate it to climate patterns. It focuses on the worldwide coordinate system of latitude and longitude and applies that to more detailed topographic maps used by geologists and other earth scientists. Locally, physical characteristics of rocks can be compared and correlated.


Welcome to Earth Science
Mr. Leigh-Manuell s Earth Science Class
  1. Only one sequence is correct for each activity, but the answer is easily achievable if students can recognize the relationships detailed in the cards.
  2. This also means that fossils found in the lowest levels in a sequence of layered rocks represent the oldest record of life there.
  3. After you have arranged the cards in order, write your sequence of letters using each letter only once on a separate piece of paper.


Students should have the skill to set up a data table and a graph, however, if you want to use this activity with students that have not, you can provide them a template with that information. After students grade their exit tickets, they usually pass them in so that I can analyze them and track their exit ticket scores on a unit Exit Ticket Tracker. Again, this exercise is only hypothetical but the experience provided to students can be transferred to actual rock data. Which fossil organisms could possibly be used as index fossils? Earth Science Kane Koller.

In this topic we look at the beginnings of astronomy and see how technology has allowed mankind to gain a better understanding of our Universe. The final process, horizontal originality, I use a brief demo. In addition, students should discuss which, if any, matchmaking pvp of the fossils in a particular segment could be utilized as an index fossil. This was a new activity we implemented last tear. Books with interactive features may work best on an iPad.

Radioactive Dating Looking at Half-Lives Using M&Ms

This activity would also be easy to adapt when talking about half-lives within a chemistry course. For example, students should discuss which fossils are making their first appearance in a particular segment and which fossils have disappeared. Use this information to sequence the cards in a vertical stack of fossils in rock strata. This is called relative dating. Here are a few links to help you along the way.

Geologic Time - Ms. Ash s Science Website

Moreover, this chapter will revisit sedimentary rocks and see how the sediments produced during weathering factor into the formation of the different rocks. Scientists also use direct evidence from observations of the rock layers themselves to help determine the relative age of rock layers. In this topic we will take a look at how the Theory of Plate Tectonics developed and provide concrete evidence that support the theory. Analyses of rock strata and the fossil record provide only relative dates, not an absolute scale.

For example, most limestones represent marine environments, whereas, sandstones with ripple marks might indicate a shoreline habitat or a riverbed. This topic looks at minerals and rocks and helps us to understand the different properties needed to identify them. Well don't worry, click below to download your copy.

Carefully examine the second set of cards which have sketches of fossils on them. We will focus on minerals and how they are the building blocks of rocks and we will show how we can no longer live without these resources. Science and Engineering Practices. Additionally, they're mostly organized to get increasingly more difficult and increase in complexity, dating bottle glass which is why the harder questions tend to come toward the end.

It is the concept, regardless of shape, sediments are always deposited in flat layers. Students should have some prior knowledge of rocks and how they are dated. In this topic we will learn about the beginnings of Earth and the extreme changes it has undergone. Home Professional Learning.

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