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Timelines

Title: Timelines

Grade Level: 9-12

Subject/Content: Science / Biology

Summary of Lesson: Students understand how the earth's timeline of evolutionary history is broken up into eras, epochs and periods and can explain how and why certain species may have appeared during each timeframe.

Focus Question: What do scientists believe the Earth's evolutionary timeline looks like?

Databases(s): WEB FEET, Science Resource Center

Procedures:

Steps/Activities by teacher:

  • Initiate a class discussion that addresses what a timeline consists of (scale, key, magnification of sections, etc) (See possible math tie)
  • Provide each pair of students with at least a 50cm x 25cm piece of white paper.
  • Instruct students to create a timeline that dates back at least 4.6 billion years ago and is divided into 10,000,000 year increments. HINT: Guide them to realize that by using ten centimeters for each 1,000,000,000 years, 10,000,000 year marks will end up being one millimeter
  • Instruct the students to access WEB FEET and Science Resource Center databases to find the era, epochs and periods of time in Earth's history
  • Guide the students as they accurately put these periods of time onto their labeled timeline. Hint: Have the students color code each one rather then try to label everything in the small spaces
  • After students have labeled the era, epochs and periods on their timeline, they need to again access Science Resource Center. Students should search for at least two species for every period of time in Earth's history. The species collected should be drawn, colored, cut-out and placed in order on the timeline (See possible Global Studies tie)
  • Once students have completed their timeline of evolutionary history, include an English component. Have them complete several essay questions using Science Resource Center. Essay questions may include:
    • why species appeared in the order they did
    • what evidence scientists have that allow them to conclude that species appeared in this order
    • reflect on the amount of time that passed before life occurred and the amount of time that has
    • what do nonsupporters of evolutionary theories say about the timeline of evolutionary history
  • Have students share their timeline essays with the class or in small groups

Steps/Activities by student(s):

  • Participate in the class discussion on timelines and scaling
  • On paper provided by your teacher, create a timeline that dates back at least 4.6 billion years ago and is divided down into 10,000,000 year increments. HINT: Use round measurements and numbers to make this much easier
  • Access WEB FEET and Science Resource Center databases to find the era, epochs and periods of time in earth's history
  • Accurately label your timeline with these timeframes. Hint: Color code each one rather then try to label everything in the small spaces
  • Access Science Resource Center to search for at least two species for every period of time in earth's history. The species collected should be drawn, colored, cut-out, labeled with the period and placed in sequential order on the timeline
  • Complete the essay questions using the timeline you created and Science Resource Center as a reference.
  • Share your timeline essays with the class or in small groups as instructed by your teacher

Outcome: Students will be able to effectively show and explain the earth's evolutionary history and defend why they placed certain species in certain periods of time.

Related Activities: This activity is easily integrated with:

Math can be incorporated by:

  • Students can work on scale factors in math class in order to be more successful with the creation of their timeline
  • Emphasis can be placed on magnifying a particular piece of the timeline to show greater detail of the most recent period of time. Students can then include major scientific discoveries of the past 100 years

Global Studies can be incorporating by:

  • If a magnified section of the timeline is created in math, have students include major global studies events onto the magnified section of their timeline
  • Additional essay questions can pertain to the rate of evolutionary changes in societies compared to the rates of biological changes in species

Standard Date: December 1994

Content Standard(s): NS.9-12.3(C) Biological evolution; NS.9-12.4(D) Origin and evolution of the earth system; Origin and evolution of the universe

Learning Expectation: As a result of activities, students will be able to show the evolution of species over billions of years and explain why it is believed that the evolution of species occurred as it did.

Performance Indicators:

  • At Level 1, the student is able to:
    • Read an evolutionary timeline.
  • At Level 2, the student is able to:
    • Be able to lend rational as to the evolution of species
  • At Level 3, the student is able to:
    • Construct a timeline of evolutionary history that accurately depicts the appearance of species within specific era, epochs and periods of geologic time

Computer Literacy and Usage Standards 9-12:

  • The student will demonstrate proficiency in the care and use of computer-based technology
  • The student will develop skills using a variety of computer resources to increase productivity, support creativity, conduct and evaluate research, and improve communications
  • The student will use technology resources to improve problem solving and decision-making skills and apply these skills to real world situations

ISTE NETS for Students

  • A1 Formulate and revise scientific models using logic and evidence
  • A2 Scientific explanations must adhere to criteria such as proposed explanation must be logically consistent; it must abide by the rule of evidence; it must be open to questions and possible modification and it must be based on historical and current scientific data
  • C3 Biological evolution

Information Power; Information Literacy Standard 7:

  • The student who contributes positively to the learning community and to society is information literate and recognizes the importance of information to a democratic society

 

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