Who's on first relative dating activity, introduction

Who's on first relative dating activity


On a larger scale, even between continents, fossil evidence can help in correlating rock layers. Name three organisms represented that probably could not be used as index fossils and explain why. If certain fossils are typically found only in a particular rock unit and are found in many places worldwide, they may be useful as index or guide fossils in determining the age of undated strata.

In what kinds of rocks might you find the fossils from this activity? Each card represents a particular rock layer with a collection of fossils that are found in that particular rock stratum. The study of fossils and the exploration of what they tell scientists about past climates and environments on Earth can be an interesting study for students of all ages. Graphs, charts, boundaries and images can be used to identify patterns in data.

Visualize them from best to customary with the motliest layer on the bottom and the lofty on top. Stratigraphic Section for Set B. Scientists also use direct evidence from observations of the rock layers themselves to help determine the relative age of rock layers.

State the Law of Whos on first relative dating activity and dodge how this method grabs this law. For example, students should discuss which fossils are making their first appearance in a particular segment and which fossils have disappeared. In the first part of the activity, students are asked to sequence cards by identifying and ordering overlapping letters found on the cards. Analyses of rock strata and the fossil record provide only relative dates, not an absolute scale. The activity helps students to understand that long spans of geologic time can be broken down into more manageable segments by using relative ages.


  1. The sequence must be exactly in the order as written.
  2. Time, space, and energy phenomena can be observed at various scales using models to study systems that are too large or too small.
  3. By matching partial sequences, the truly oldest layers with fossils can be worked out.
  4. Locally, physical characteristics of rocks can be compared and correlated.

Whos on first relative dating activity

Carefully examine the second set of cards which have sketches of fossils on them. After you have arranged the cards in order, write your sequence of letters using each letter only once on a separate piece of paper. Which fossil organisms could possibly be used as index fossils?

Keep in mind that extinction is forever. Again, this exercise is only hypothetical but the experience provided to students can be transferred to actual rock data. The following is a list of fossils in the John Hanley Fossil Teaching Set that may be useful in this activity. The brachiopod, crinoid, eurypterid, foraminifera, gastropod, horn coral, pelecypod, and trilobite could probably not be used as index fossils since they overlap more than one stratum.


Who's on first relative dating activity

The nonsense syllables or letters sometimes overlap other cards and are being used to introduce the students to the concept of sequencing. Once these answers are shared and evaluated, what are best dating students would be prepared for a discussion of the Law of Superposition. Science and Engineering Practices. Time factors of millions and billions of years is difficult even for adults to comprehend.

Spread the cards with the nonsense syllables on the table and determine the correct sequence of the eight cards by comparing letters that are common to individual cards and, therefore, overlap. The wrinkles in Set B regard rock layers containing any fossils. The before question may help connect this point. In this activity, students begin a sequencing activity with familiar items - letters written on cards. All of the fossils represented would be found in sedimentary rocks of marine origin.

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Scientific measurements such as radiometric dating use the natural radioactivity of certain elements found in rocks to help determine their age. This is called relative dating. Both parts of the activity can be completed in one class period. Only one sequence is correct for each activity, but the answer is easily achievable if students can recognize the relationships detailed in the cards.

Relative dating activity

By correlating fossils from various parts of the world, scientists are able to give relative ages to particular strata. This also means that fossils found in the lowest levels in a sequence of layered rocks represent the oldest record of life there. State the Law of Superposition and explain how this activity illustrates this law.

Sequence the remaining cards by using the same process. Responsive Theme works for WordPress. Use this information to sequence the cards in a vertical stack of fossils in rock strata. Specific rock formations are indicative of a particular type of environment existing when the rock was being formed.

The graptolite, placoderm, ammonite, ichthyosaur, and shark's tooth could possibly be used as index fossils since they are found in only one layer. The major difficulty that students may encounter is the concept that extinction is forever. For example, most limestones represent marine environments, whereas, sandstones with ripple marks might indicate a shoreline habitat or a riverbed. In order to align this activity more closely to this practice, speed dating kc teachers should require students to explain and justify each step of their timeline.

Who's on first relative dating activity

Please note that none of the letters in this sequence may be reversed and still be correct. This would also mean that fossils found in the deepest layer of rocks in an area would represent the oldest forms of life in that particular rock formation. This will enable your teacher to quickly check whether you have the correct sequence. Find a rock layer that has at least one of the fossils you found in the oldest rock layer. It is recommended that students complete Procedure Set A and answer the associated Interpretation Questions correctly before proceeding to Set B.

Whos on first relative dating activity

In addition, students should discuss which, if any, of the fossils in a particular segment could be utilized as an index fossil. By using this information from rock formations in various parts of the world and correlating the studies, scientists have been able to establish the geologic time scale. Experience a developed chamber that has at least one of the mistakes you found in the motliest rock layer. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.

Bio 14.1 - Earth Fossils and Dating

  • In the second part of the activity, students progress to dating rock layers by sequencing fossils found in the different strata.
  • Teaching about Earth's history is a challenge for all teachers.
  • Using the results of these activities, teachers can then lead students in a discussion of the Law of Superposition and the identification and value of index fossils.
  • Sequencing the rock layers will show students how paleontologists use fossils to give relative dates to rock strata.
  • Return to top To enhance this activity, have students match the fossil sketches to real fossils.
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