Relative dating lesson

During the lesson pupils completed a key term matching activity and two worksheets to test their ability to apply some of these principles to geological diagrams.

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Return to top The study and comparison of exposed rock layers or strata in various parts of the earth led scientists in the early 19th century to propose that the rock layers could be correlated from place to place.

Locally, physical characteristics of rocks can be compared and correlated.

Once they are able to manipulate the cards into the correct sequence, they are asked to do a similar sequencing activity using fossil pictures printed on "rock layer" cards.

Sequencing the rock layers will show students how paleontologists use fossils to give relative dates to rock strata.

Scientific measurements such as radiometric dating use the natural radioactivity of certain elements found in rocks to help determine their age.

The Law of Superposition, which states that in an undisturbed horizontal sequence of rocks, the oldest rock layers will be on the bottom, with successively younger rocks on top of these, helps geologists correlate rock layers around the world.The module is an integrated unit which addresses the following National Science Education Standards: *Science as Inquiry: Students develop the abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry — identify questions, design and conduct scientific investigations, use appropriate tools and technologies to gather, analyze and interpret data, think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations, communicate results, and use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.*Life Science: Fossils indicate that many organisms that lived long ago are extinct.Specific rock formations are indicative of a particular type of environment existing when the rock was being formed.For example, most limestones represent marine environments, whereas, sandstones with ripple marks might indicate a shoreline habitat or a riverbed.

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