HISTORY OF THE EARTH:

AN INTERNET BASED LESSON PLAN

Goal:

Students will learn about the geological and biological history of the earth. They will become familiar with the age of the earth, the geological periods, and the development of life. By utilizing the internet, students will create a time line of the earth's history.

Overview:

Students will brainstorm and create an rough draft time line of the history of the earth. After this rough draft time line is completed, the class will be divided into 4 groups. Each group is then responsible for researching one of the four geological time periods. Each group will prepare a fact-filled time line of their period, and present it to the class. The four time lines are then joined to create a master time line of the earth's history. It can be posted, discussed and compared briefly to the rough draft time line. Take Action options include research on endangered species, ozone, greenhouse, overpopulation, etc., and other issues that are threats to the existence of our current age.

Materials:

Computers with Internet Access, posterboard/newsprint, and markers.


INVITATION

As a class, students are asked to guide the teacher in creating a rough draft time line of the history of the earth. Teacher should make this line on the board, on newsprint, on an overhead, etc. This rough draft which is based on student preconceptions, should include the age of the earth, the presence of life, dinosaurs, man, etc., and it should be keep by the teacher for later use.

EXPLORATION

Once the rough draft time line is completed, the class should be divided into 4 groups. Students should be briefly informed that the history of the earth is commonly divided into 4 geological time ages: Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic. Each of the groups will thus be assigned one of the ages, which it must research utilizing the Berkeley Museum of Paleontology Website.

Berkeley Museum of Paleontology Website:

http://ucmp1.berkeley.edu/welcome.html

Each group will be responsible for the creation of a fact-filled time line representing their geological time period. Time lines can be done on newsprint, posterboard, etc. It is important however, to provide the groups with standard dimensions for their time lines. This will ensure a harmoniously presented time line, once the four era time lines are joined. Factors to be included in each time line: time period and duration, name origin of that era, animal life, plant life, geology, fossils, extinctions, time periods within that era, etc. Groups will be responsible for the division of labor involved in the researching and the creation of their time line.

EXPLANATION

Upon the completion of the four era time lines, each group will present its final time line. The presentations should be conducted in order from oldest to youngest, and thus summarize the geological and biological history of the earth. The four resulting time lines should then be posted in order on one of the classroom walls, creating a large time line of the history of the earth. Once this is complete, the final time line can be briefly compared with the rough draft time line.

TAKE ACTION

Further research on actual geological formations can highlight this project. Great possibilities also exist in studying fossils, dinosaurs or endangered species. For more socially relevant alternatives, discussion and research into issues that threaten the existence of our current era could be of great interest; some of these issues could be endangered species, ozone, pollution, energy, greenhouse, overpopulation, world politics, conservation, technology, etc.

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