Ch 35: Earth History & Geologic Time

About This Chapter

The short video lessons in this chapter can help your middle school students learn more about earth history and geologic time. Use lesson quizzes and a chapter exam to test their comprehension of the materials.

Earth History & Geologic Time - Chapter Summary

Help your middle school students strengthen their knowledge of earth history and geologic time with the fun video lessons in this chapter. The videos, usually less than 10 minutes long, outline the origins of the universe, including the Big Bang Theory and expanding and contracting universes, as well as the formation of galaxies and Earth. Your students can learn more about the history of life on Earth, major geological subsystems, Earth's major catastrophic events and the redistribution of organisms on this planet. By having your students take self-assessment quizzes, you can gauge how well they understand these topics, as well as others like relative and radiometric dating and fossil preservation. If you have any questions about this chapter, expert instructors are available to assist.

Chapter Lessons and Objectives

Lesson Objective
Origins of the Universe: The Big Bang and Expanding & Contracting Universes Students learn why the Big Bang Theory is considered to be the probable explanation for the formation of the universe.
Evidence for the Big Bang Theory: Background Radiation, Red-Shift and Expansion This lesson helps students examine evidence that supports the Big Bang Theory, including background radiation, red-shift and expansion.
Galaxy Formation: Spiral, Elliptical & Irregular Galaxies Students discover the formation of elliptical, spiral and irregular types of galaxies.
Formation of the Earth: Theories Students understand how the formation of Earth relates to the Big Bang and Solar Nebular hypothesis and how Earth formed its layers.
The History of Life on Earth: Timeline and Characteristics of Major Eras Students learn to identify the major eras of life on Earth and their characteristics.
Earth's 4 Major Geological Subsystems Instructor helps students identify the four major subsystems of the Earth system and, using the concept of cycles, explain how these subsystems interact.
How Major Catastrophic Events Disrupt the Course of Life on Earth Students analyze how major catastrophic events like volcanic eruptions and asteroids have disrupted life on Earth.
Using Fossil Evidence to Evaluate Changes in Environment & Life Conditions Students learn how fossils offer evidence that life and environmental conditions have changed on Earth.
How Earth's Shifts Have Redistributed Organisms Over Time This lesson helps students understand how past and present distributions of organisms have been affected by movements of Earth's continental and oceanic plates through time.
Geologic Time Scale: Major Eons, Eras, Periods & Epochs Students examine the geologic time scale and its principal subdivisions. Major eons, periods, eras and epochs are explored.
Theories of Geological Evolution: Catastrophism vs Uniformitarianism Instructor helps students understand theories of uniformitarianism and catastrophism in the formation of Earth's surface.
Methods of Geological Dating: Numeric and Relative Dating Students learn to distinguish between numerical dates and relative dating then examine how geologists use them to study Earth's history.
What is Relative Dating? - Law of Superposition, Principles of Original Horizontality & Cross-Cutting Relationships Students analyze the law of superposition, principles of original horizontality and cross-cutting relationships and how inclusions and unconformities help establish relative dates.
Principles of Radiometric Dating Students discover the three common types of radioactive decay, as well as the relationship between parent and daughter isotopes and the significance of half-life.
Radiometric Dating: Methods, Uses & the Significance of Half-Life The lesson helps students examine how radioactive decay is used to determine numeric age, along with the major methods of radioactive dating and uses and limits of each.
Conditions of Fossil Preservation: Rapid Burial, Hard Parts & the Elements Students take a closer look at conditions that favor preservation, including temperature, burial and hard parts.
Relative Dating with Fossils: Index Fossils as Indicators of Time Students find out about the principle of fossil succession and learn how to use index fossils as indicators of time.
Using Geological Layers & Radioactive Dating to Determine the Earth's Age Instructor helps students understand how Earth's age of 4.6 billion years and the 3 billion years of life on this planet are determined by evidence from geological layers and radioactive dating.
Developments & Extinctions of Life on the Geological Time Scale Students explore significant developments and extinctions of animal and plant life on the geologic time scale.

18 Lessons in Chapter 35: Earth History & Geologic Time
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Origins of the Universe: The Big Bang and Expanding & Contracting Universes

1. Origins of the Universe: The Big Bang and Expanding & Contracting Universes

Students will learn the origins of the universe, the Big Bang theory, the timeline of the universe, how the universe is still expanding to this day, and what astronomers expect the universe to look like in the future.

Evidence for the Big Bang Theory: Background Radiation, Red-Shift and Expansion

2. Evidence for the Big Bang Theory: Background Radiation, Red-Shift and Expansion

Discover what evidence exists to support the Big Bang theory of the birth of the universe. Learn how cosmic background radiation, the red shift of light and the ongoing expansion of the universe led scientists to believe that the universe was started with the Big Bang.

Galaxy Formation: Spiral, Elliptical & Irregular Galaxies

3. Galaxy Formation: Spiral, Elliptical & Irregular Galaxies

This lesson explains how galaxies form, starting with the Big Bang. You'll also learn about the solar nebula hypothesis and three galaxy types, including spiral, elliptical, and irregular galaxies.

Formation of the Earth: Theories

4. Formation of the Earth: Theories

In this lesson, the theory of how the planet Earth formed will be discussed. This includes looking at how it differentiated into three layers, how it formed its atmosphere, water, and land features, and how it continues to evolve today.

Earth's 4 Major Geological Subsystems

5. Earth's 4 Major Geological Subsystems

When we think of the Earth, we mainly think of the physical land we stand on. The Earth system is much more complex and is comprised of four major geological subsystems that interact to carry out many natural processes.

How Major Catastrophic Events Disrupt the Course of Life on Earth

6. How Major Catastrophic Events Disrupt the Course of Life on Earth

Do you know that, smart as we are, we can be destroyed any second? History provides us with many catastrophic events that led to mass destruction and this lesson covers a couple.

Using Fossil Evidence to Evaluate Changes in Environment & Life Conditions

7. Using Fossil Evidence to Evaluate Changes in Environment & Life Conditions

How can something that died tens of millions of years ago help people in the present day understand the past? In the case of fossils, these long-dead specimens can be perfect clues for figuring out changes in environment and life conditions.

How Earth's Shifts Have Redistributed Organisms Over Time

8. How Earth's Shifts Have Redistributed Organisms Over Time

While the earth feels pretty solid, the fact is that it is constantly changing. In fact, as this lesson will demonstrate, many of those changes have had a direct effect on the way that life has developed around the world.

Geologic Time Scale: Major Eons, Eras, Periods and Epochs

9. Geologic Time Scale: Major Eons, Eras, Periods and Epochs

The geologic time scale is an essential tool for understanding the history of Earth and the evolution of life. In this lesson, explore the principal eons, eras, periods, and epochs that help us track major events in geologic history.

Theories of Geological Evolution: Catastrophism vs Uniformitarianism

10. Theories of Geological Evolution: Catastrophism vs Uniformitarianism

Geologists haven't always agreed about the history of our planet. They have debated between catastrophism and uniformitarianism over the last few hundred years! Learn about the two main theories of geologic evolution and how scientists came to resolve the dispute.

Methods of Geological Dating: Numerical and Relative Dating

11. Methods of Geological Dating: Numerical and Relative Dating

Learn how scientists determine the ages of rocks and fossils. We'll explore both relative and numerical dating on our quest to understand the process of geological dating. Along the way, we'll learn how stratigraphic succession and radioactive decay contribute to the work of paleontologists.

What is Relative Dating? - Law of Superposition, Principles of Original Horizontality & Cross-Cutting Relationships

12. What is Relative Dating? - Law of Superposition, Principles of Original Horizontality & Cross-Cutting Relationships

Discover how geologists study the layers in sedimentary rock to establish relative age. Learn how inclusions and unconformities can tell us stories about the geologic past. We'll even visit the Grand Canyon to solve the mystery of the Great Unconformity!

Principles of Radiometric Dating

13. Principles of Radiometric Dating

Radiometric dating is a method used to determine the age of rocks and other materials based on the rate of radioactive decay. Learn about three common types of radioactive decay: alpha decay, beta decay and gamma decay.

Radiometric Dating: Methods, Uses & the Significance of Half-Life

14. Radiometric Dating: Methods, Uses & the Significance of Half-Life

Radiometric dating is used to estimate the age of rocks and other objects based on the fixed decay rate of radioactive isotopes. Learn about half-life and how it is used in different dating methods, such as uranium-lead dating and radiocarbon dating, in this video lesson.

Conditions of Fossil Preservation: Rapid Burial, Hard Parts & the Elements

15. Conditions of Fossil Preservation: Rapid Burial, Hard Parts & the Elements

Learn how fossils are formed and how varying conditions affect the preservation of organisms. What is the best way for a dinosaur to become fossilized? Find out here!

Relative Dating with Fossils: Index Fossils as Indicators of Time

16. Relative Dating with Fossils: Index Fossils as Indicators of Time

You may already know how to date a fossil with a rock. But did you know that we can also date a rock with a fossil? Watch this video to find out how we use index fossils to establish the relative ages of rocks.

Using Geological Layers & Radioactive Dating to Determine the Earth's Age

17. Using Geological Layers & Radioactive Dating to Determine the Earth's Age

If you want to know how old a person is, you ask them. If you want to get an idea about a tree's age, you count its rings. But what if you want to know the age of the Earth? In this lesson, we'll get an idea of how scientists date our planet.

Developments & Extinctions of Life on the Geological Time Scale

18. Developments & Extinctions of Life on the Geological Time Scale

Is extinction all that bad? In some ways, it might be. But out of the rubble new developments always arise. This lesson shows you how this is so with a couple examples.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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