Standard #: SC.7.E.6.3


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Identify current methods for measuring the age of Earth and its parts, including the law of superposition and radioactive dating.


General Information

Subject Area: Science
Grade: 7
Body of Knowledge: Earth and Space Science
Big Idea: Earth Structures - Over geologic time, internal and external sources of energy have continuously altered the features of Earth by means of both constructive and destructive forces. All life, including human civilization, is dependent on Earth's internal and external energy and material resources.
Date Adopted or Revised: 02/08
Date of Last Rating: 05/08
Status: State Board Approved
Assessed: Yes

Related Courses

Course Number1111 Course Title222
2002070: M/J Comprehensive Science 2 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002080: M/J Comprehensive Science 2, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2001010: M/J Earth/Space Science (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2001020: M/J Earth/Space Science, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
7820016: Access M/J Comprehensive Science 2 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 and beyond (current))
2002085: M/J Comprehensive Science 2 Accelerated Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))


Related Access Points

Access Point Number Access Point Title
SC.7.E.6.Su.2 Recognize that mountains change size and shape over a long period of time.
SC.7.E.6.In.3 Demonstrate how older rock layers are deposited at the bottom before younger layers (Law of Superposition).
SC.7.E.6.Pa.3 Recognize that ground on the Earth’s surface changes over time.


Related Resources

Lesson Plans

Name Description
Radioactive Dating Lesson 4 - Recursive Division

This lesson introduces students to the idea of recursive division and its application to radioactive dating with a worksheet and Scratch programming. This is the final lesson in the Radioactive Dating Unit.

Radioactive Dating Lesson 3 - Modeling

Students will further explore the idea of radioactive dating through a drawing activity and creating a model simulation in Scratch.

Radioactive Dating Lesson 2

Students will learn about the importance of using multiple radioactive dating methods to date an artifact as well as learn about the if programming control structure. This is Lesson 2 in the Radioactive Dating Unit and will begin the experience in coding a program to illustrate student understanding of radioactive dating.

Radioactive Dating Lesson 1

Read about a recent uncovering of mammoths to engage students in a discussion of radioactive dating. This is the first lesson in a unit of 4 lessons that integrates science, math, and computer science standards to teach the concept of half-lives and radioactive dating.

Radioactive Dating: Half-Life & Geologic Time

In this Model Eliciting Activity (MEA), students must use their knowledge of radioactive dating and geologic time to select an effective elemental isotope to be used to date three rare specimens. This decision requires an understanding of the concept of a half-life and the benefits and limitations of radiometric dating. Students must complete mathematical calculations involving equations and operations with fractions and percentages. Students completing this MEA must develop two essays that respond in a professional manner to a client in the scientific industry.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Time Travelers: Measuring the Age of the Earth

The student will collect and analyze data, collaborate and discuss their findings, compare their findings to one another, and apply their findings to unknowns. Students will build a timeline based on the masses of substances to develop a basic understanding of absolute age by radioactive dating and how it compares to relative age based on the Law of Superposition. Students will measure the mass of several objects which will represent "fossils." Each object's mass will represent a specific age of the object. Students will gain an understanding of how scientists use absolute dating to accurately determine the age of objects and how relative dating is used to generally determine the age of objects.

Layers and Laws

The students will identify patterns in fossils and explain their understanding of how rock layers are deposited. They will use the evidence from the activity to make inferences about what the Earth was like during the time the fossils existed. Students will develop an understanding of how fossils give scientists clues as to what the early Earth was like in the past. Students will also show how fossils can be used to relatively date rock layers using the Law of Superposition and index fossils.

Radiometric Dating

In this activity, students model the process of radiometric dating, and apply basic mathematics skills to understand how scientists used the process of radioactive decay as a tool to learn about Earth's past.

The Candyville Mall Dilemma- Radioactive Dating

The students will complete a hands-on activity using M&Ms to demonstrate the principles of radioactive decay. At the conclusion of this lesson, students will understand the term half-life and know how to utilize a graph of radioactive decay to approximate the age of a "fossil". This activity involves recording and graphing data as well as a short data analysis segment. This resource requires materials (M&Ms, Containers, & Calculators) in order to complete and is more fun for the students when they are allowed to eat after their data collection is complete.

Sweet Superposition!

This lesson addresses only the Law of Superposition portion and not radiometric dating. Students will investigate the correlation between rock layers and fossil age. Students will also become familiar with the Law of Superposition and apply to finding the relative age of excavated "fossils".

Layers and Layers This lesson has students create their own rock layers by slowly adding and observing how different types of sediment interact when layered upon each other. This lesson is meant to illustrate how we can use these layers to discover the relative age of an object found in that layer by utilizing the Law of Superposition.
Dig It! (A Thematic Integrated Geology Unit)

This lesson (2 parts) is an engaging way to strengthen student understanding of the Law of Superposition and evidence of Earth's changes over time. Students will excavate "fossils" from plastic tubs in class and then have the option of a larger outside excavation. The lesson not only supports science benchmarks but Math and Language Arts Standards as well and has an optional Social Studies extension. Materials are required but can be easily obtained and are reusable year after year. The more imagination you put into setting the context, the more powerful the lesson's outcome.

Original Student Tutorial

Name Description
Hey Rock, How Old Are You?

Learn how to identify sedimentary rock from other types of rock formations and use the Law of Superposition to determine the relative age of rock layers with this interactive tutorial.

Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Name Description
Isotopes and Paleoclimates

Let this researcher explain how studying fossils and isotopes can help us understand ancient climate conditions!

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Name Description
Bag-O-Beads

Using beads to model radiometric dating.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Text Resource

Name Description
Seeking a Break in a 252 Million-Year-Old Mass Killing

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text describes how scientists are attempting to use several pieces of evidence to pinpoint when a mass extinction event occurred at the end of the Permian Period. The text points to a connection between increasing volcanic eruptions, an increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and their relationship to mass extinctions before alluding to the signs of how human activity could be pushing Earth towards one.

Tutorial

Name Description
Digging for Clues: Effective Vocabulary Strategies

Click "View Site" to open a full-screen version. This tutorial is designed to help secondary science teachers learn how to integrate literacy skills into their science curriculum. This tutorial will demonstrate a number of strategies teachers can impart to students to help them use context clues to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words within science texts. It will also help them teach students how to select the appropriate definition from reference materials. The focus on literacy across content areas is intended to help foster students' reading, writing, and thinking skills in multiple disciplines.

Virtual Manipulative

Name Description
Radioactive Dating Game

This simulation demonstrates the principles of radioactive dating. Users can also determine the age of different objects such as fossils and rocks by percentage of parent nuclei remaining.

Student Resources

Original Student Tutorial

Name Description
Hey Rock, How Old Are You?:

Learn how to identify sedimentary rock from other types of rock formations and use the Law of Superposition to determine the relative age of rock layers with this interactive tutorial.

Virtual Manipulative

Name Description
Radioactive Dating Game:

This simulation demonstrates the principles of radioactive dating. Users can also determine the age of different objects such as fossils and rocks by percentage of parent nuclei remaining.



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