Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
Students will be able to explain and diagram the divisions of time in the history of life on Earth. They will become familiar with the vocabulary used to name each of the time segments. Students will demonstrate that the geologic time scale does not divide the age of Earth into equal parts as our clock or calendar does. Students will be able to explain that the divisions of the geologic time scale depend on events in the history of the Earth. Students will explain that the types of organisms living on Earth changed over long periods of time according to the evidence provided by the fossil record.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
Students should be familiar with the concept of fossils, relative and absolute age of rocks, layers of Earth, continental drift, Pangaea, and the concept of creating time lines.
Students should have prior experience with thinking maps, specifically brace maps. However, the teacher should review the concept of brace maps before students start their independent work.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
- Did humans and dinosaurs live on Earth at the same time?
- How is the age of life on Earth measured in the geologic time scale?
- How does physical evidence support scientific theories that Earth has evolved over geologic time due to natural processes?
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
Teacher will pose a question: Did humans and dinosaurs live on Earth at the same time? (The answer is "No").
Teacher will wait for students to respond and start a class discussion.
Ask students questions about how old the earth is and when did life first appear on Earth?
What kind of living things were there?
Ask specific questions such as, were the animals of today around when Earth first formed?
When did reptiles start appearing? When was the first human on Earth?
If they already hypothesized that animals have changed over time, then ask, why?
What is different about Earth now, than it was then? Based on student responses, the teacher will be able to see if students are familiar with scientific vocabulary related to the Geologic Time Scale. Students may bring up the Flintstones or the Jurassic Park, Ice Age, or the Land Before Time.
The teacher can then talk about how we have been figuring out how old the Earth is based on our collection of fossils and where they have appeared in rock formations. Scientists have pieced together a history of Earth based on these and other findings.
This will be a great starting point to introduce the geologic time scale reference table.
Geologic Time Scale Reference Chart.docx
Ask students to take a few minutes to review the chart before asking questions.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
Teacher will explain the organization of the geologic time scale by asking probing questions, such as "What is the name of the period we live in right now?" or "Which segment of time lasted the longest amount of time?"
Next the teacher should hand out the Geologic Time worksheet and review the questions. Ask students how they might go about answering the questions to determine if they understand what they are being asked to do.
- Question #1: Students should focus on the time divisions between the eras and subtract to find out how long each era lasted (Mesozoic Era lasted 185 million years, because 251 - 66 = 185).
- Question #2: Students create a pie chart to show the percentage of time each Era of geologic time represents in the geologic time scale. A pie chart is used to compare the different parts that make up a whole amount. Students use the data they have input in the data table in #1 to create the pie chart. 100% = 360 "degrees". 1% = 3.6 "degrees". Students can use a protractor to create a pie chart. Other students may be able to estimate the size of each section on the pie chart without using the protractor. (75% is 3/4 of the circle, 12.5% is about 1/2 of the remaining pie. 75+12.5=87.5 which is acceptable for 88%)
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Day 1: Students will complete the worksheet questions 1 - 5 and complete a thinking map.
Geologic Time Scale worksheet.docx
Geologic Time Scale worksheet answer key (1).docx
Geologic Time Scale Brace Map Key.docx
Day 2: Each student will choose an animal or another organism and will trace it back to their most basic relative. Students use computers with internet access to research the evolutionary path the organism made through geologic time. The teacher may provide links to the websites to save time and to ensure quality research. Some links are provided below. Sites for students should be free of ads and should be from research sites if at all possible.
The final product can be a brochure, a timeline, or a poster.
History of the.docx
Students will have an opportunity to finish the project at home and use the rubric to guide them as they work on the project.Geologic Time Scale Project.xls
The point of this activity is to find how the animals they are familiar with have changed over time. Some discoveries will be made that students will be surprised to find. Some suggestions to research would include dogs, cats, alligators, shark, manatees, dolphins, horses and even a chicken.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
This entire lesson is designed to assist students in organizing their knowledge of the geologic time scale. The brace map, the data table and the pie chart will help students to organize their knowledge.
In addition, from the final product students will be able to put a story together regarding the history of Earth. Animals have changed over time as evidenced by the fossil record. All animals (and all living things) have changed at different times and at different rates.
The activities in this lesson will lead to summative assessment and demonstrating mastery including:
- Students are able to interpret the geologic time scale by understanding that each segment lasted various amounts of time.
- Students will be able to use the reference chart to calculate the length of time of each of the Eras and Precambrian Time.
- Students will be able to complete the pie chart that shows the proportion each of the segments of time represents in the entire age of the Earth.
- Students will demonstrate their understanding of the organization and relationships of the Eras and Periods in the Geologic Time Scale by completing a thinking map.
- The completion of the brace map shows that students understand the parts to the whole relationship in the geologic time scale.
- Students will place fossils of various organisms in the correct Periods using the reference chart.
- Students are able to make observations regarding the complexity of the fossils as we move through the geologic time scale from Precambrian Time to present and draw a conclusion based on their observations.
Each of the 5 questions on the activity sheet is worth 20 points.
The teacher will walk around, spot-check students' work and ask probing questions if students are not progressing adequately. Sample questions:
- How will you calculate the amount of time each of the time sections lasted?
- Do we need to focus on the time divisions between the periods or eras in order to complete the data table in #1?
- Do you remember what a pie chart shows?
- Do you remember what a brace map looks like?
If multiple students are having the same reoccurring difficulty, the teacher can stop the independent work session and address the whole class to clarify the issue.
Feedback to Students
The teacher will ask probing questions regarding interpreting the Geologic Time Scale Reference Chart, filling out the data table, setting up the pie chart, and filling out the brace map. Students will have an opportunity to ask their teacher to look over their progress and to identify errors during the lesson before they turn their completed assignment in.