Teaching Students About Geologic Time Periods
Teaching students about geologic time periods is an important part of science education. This topic can give a deep understanding of Earth’s history, and how the planet has been shaped over millions of years. Students can learn about the highlights of geologic time periods, including their duration, typical fossils, and major geological events. This article will provide teachers with a few suggestions for ways to teach young learners about geologic time periods.
Start with the Basics
Before diving into the specifics of each geologic time period, start with the fundamental aspects of what geologic time is and how it is measured. Explain to students that the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old, and that geologic time is broken down into divisions such as eras, periods, and epochs. It may be helpful to show a timeline of Earth’s history, with major events and extinction events clearly marked.
Visuals and Models
One of the best ways to teach students about geologic time periods is through the use of visuals and models. A simple way to start is by using a chart or timeline showing the different periods and key events. Students can label each period with notable features such as the types of rocks found or the animals and plants that existed.
Another way to help students visualize the Earth’s history is to create a model of a geologic time scale. Use different colors or materials to represent the various periods and epochs. With this model in hand, students can see how the length of each period compares to others and how they relate to one another.
Teaching geologic time periods to students can be complicated. To keep learners engaged, mix up lectures with interactive activities. One possible activity could be a fossil excavation project. Students can simulate excavations of different rock layers, each representing a different period in time. They can then describe the fossils and timeline of each layer. This activity incorporaets hands-on learning while also keeping students interested.
Another interactive activity for students could be creating a timeline mural. Allow each student to represent a period of time, illustrating what plants, animals and scenery looked like. As with an excavation project, this activity can add a visual component to learning.
Geologic time periods are crucial stops on Earth’s timeline. As a science teacher, it is important to teach students the relevance of each period and how they’ve shaped the Earth. Incorporating activities and interactive learning will keep student interest and aid in learning the subjects.