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Inquiry Lesson Plan: Relative Dating

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University


Teachers: Title & Topic: Grade Level:
Danielle Accetta Relative Dating 11, 12
Standards: NGSS

HS-ESS2-1 Develop a model to illustrate how Earths internal and surface processes operate at
different spatial and temporal scales to form continental and ocean-floor features.
Science and Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas
Developing and Using Models ESS1.C: The History of Planet Earth
Modeling in 912 builds on K8 experiences and Continental rocks, which can be older than 4
progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models billion years, are generally much older than the
to predict and show relationships among variables rocks of the ocean floor, which are less than 200
between systems and their components in the natural and million years old. (HS-ESS1-5)
designed world(s). Although active geologic processes, such as plate
Develop a model based on evidence to illustrate tectonics and erosion, have destroyed or altered
the relationships between systems or between most of the very early rock record on Earth, other
components of a system. (HS-ESS2-1) objects in the solar system, such as lunar rocks,
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions asteroids, and meteorites, have changed little over
Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 9
billions of years. Studying these objects can
12 builds on K8 experiences and progresses to
provide information about Earths formation and
explanations and designs that are supported by multiple
and independent student-generated sources of evidence early history. (HS-ESS1-6)
consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories. ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Systems
Apply scientific reasoning to link evidence to the Earths systems, being dynamic and interacting,
claims to assess the extent to which the reasoning cause feedback effects that can increase or
and data support the explanation or conclusion. decrease the original changes. (HS-ESS2-1),
(HS-ESS1-6) (Note: This Disciplinary Core Idea is also
Engaging in Argument from Evidence addressed by HS-ESS2-2.)
Engaging in argument from evidence in 912 builds on ESS2.B: Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System
K8 experiences and progresses to using appropriate and Interactions
sufficient evidence and scientific reasoning to defend and Plate tectonics is the unifying theory that explains
critique claims and explanations about the natural and the past and current movements of the rocks at
designed world(s). Arguments may also come from Earths surface and provides a framework for
current scientific or historical episodes in science. understanding its geologic history. (ESS2.B
Evaluate evidence behind currently accepted Grade 8 GBE) (secondary to HS-ESS1-5),(HS-
explanations or solutions to determine the merits ESS2-1)
of arguments. (HS-ESS1-5) Plate movements are responsible for most
Connections to Nature of Science
continental and ocean-floor features and for the
Science Models, Laws, Mechanisms, and Theories
Explain Natural Phenomena distribution of most rocks and minerals within
A scientific theory is a substantiated explanation Earths crust. (ESS2.B Grade 8 GBE) (HS-ESS2-
of some aspect of the natural world, based on a 1)
body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed PS1.C: Nuclear Processes
through observation and experiment and the Spontaneous radioactive decays follow a
science community validates each theory before it characteristic exponential decay law. Nuclear
is accepted. If new evidence is discovered that the lifetimes allow radiometric dating to be used to
theory does not accommodate, the theory is determine the ages of rocks and other materials.
generally modified in light of this new evidence. (secondary to HS-ESS1-5), (secondary to HS-
(HS-ESS1-6) ESS1-6)
Models, mechanisms, and explanations
collectively serve as tools in the development of a
scientific theory. (HS-ESS1-6)
Standards: Arizona Science Standards

S6-C3-PO4 Interpret a geologic time scale.


S6-C3-PO5 Distinguish between relative and absolute geologic dating techniques

Objective:

SWBAT interpret, explain and model a stratgraphic sequence using the law of superposition, priciple
of original horizontality, and cross-cutting relations in provided and student created stratigraphic
record.
Evidence of Mastery:

Formative
Students will demonstrate a minimum of 70% accuracy in intepretations (oldest-youngest sequences
and use of terminology) of the provided stratigraphic record for Part 2.
Summative
Students will demonstrate their understanding by developing their own stratigraphic record which
addresses a minimum of 3 of concepts discussed in relation to relative dating (i.e. cross-cutting,
disconformity, law of superposition, etc), illustrating and explaining with a minimum of 70%
accuracy.
Sub-objectives, SWBAT:

Interpret the sequence of events from a stratigraphic record (Stratigraphic Sequence WS: Part 1).
Interpret, identify, and explain the sequence of events in a record of greater complexity
(Stratigraphic Sequence WS: Part 2).
Develop a stratgraphic record that follows the concepts used in relative dating.
Present the created record as a group and explain inferences that could be made on the internal and
surface processes that would result in the student created record.
Lesson Summary and Justification:

Students will interpret stratigraphic records to determine which came first. The students will be engaged as
detectives of the past, decifering what came first and how they came to this determination. Following
relation of student discoveries with scientific concepts (i.e. relative dating, the law of superposition, cross-
cutting relations, unconformities, etc) students will be the creators and presentors of their own
stratigraphic records that follow these same concepts. This lesson is being taught to develop a conceptual
framework behind the laws used in realtive dating.
Operational Vocabulary Conceptual Vocabulary
Vocabulary needed for the experience, introduced Vocabulary that will be developed as a result of
prior to when it is needed. the experiences.

Stratigraphy Angular Unconformity


Uniformitarianism Disconformity
Geologic Time Scale Nonconformity
Correlation Law of Superposition
Observation Principle of Cross-Cutting Relationships
Inference Principle of Original Horizontality
Event Relative Dating
Layer
Misconception: (what possible misleading thoughts might students have?)

Our geologic record is not set in stone (no pun intended) but rather it is an accumulation of both relative
and radiometric dating. Neither of which are absolute but rather they are a guideline that provide a frame of
reference. This a part of the Nature of Science, our findings are subject to change based on new discoveries.
Safety:

Be sure to use materials responsibly (i.e. whiteboards and expo markers).


Inquiry Questions:

Explore:
In what order did these events occur?
What happened first?
What happened last?

Elaborate:
After connecting student explaination to vocabulary and key concepts, students will use this new knowledge
and address a more complicated diagram addressing the following questions:
In what order did these events occur?
Using the concepts we just discussed, how can you explain your interpretations?
Materials:

1. Stratigraphic Sequence WS: Part 1, diagrams 1, 2, 3 (50 of each)


2. Stratigraphic Sequence WS: Part 2, diagrams 1, 2, 3 (50 of each)
3. Relative Dating Guide (140)
4. Relative Dating PowerPoint
5. SmartBoard/Overhead projector (to accompany PowerPoint)
6. White board (8)
7. Expo markers (16)
8. Candy rewards
Engage - 5 mins

Teacher Will: (hook) Students Will:

Teacher will review the objective for the day and will Review the objective on the board.
have the objective listed on the board.

Teacher will pass out the Stratigraphic Sequence WS: Collect their worksheet and actively listen to
Part 1 to each group. *Note that there are 3 different instruction.
versions that groups will be reviewing. Within each
group all members should have the same version.

Teacher will engage the students as detectives of the


past.

The teacher will ask the students to look at the


stratigraphic record they were given (clarify definition Students will engage in answering the posed
of stratigraphic record) and will pose the questions: questions:

Looking at a stratigraphic record what kind of Looking at a stratigraphic record what kind of
observations could you make? observations could you make?
With these observations, what are some interpretations With these observations, what are some
you could make about the events that may have interpretations you could make about the events
occured? (explain the Geologic Record) that may have occured?

Best Teaching Practice Strategy/Differentiation and Teacher Notes

Teacher will provide engagement/instructions via verbal and written communication.


Students who need preferential seating will be accommodated.
Co-teacher will assist in surveying the room to aid in understanding.
Explore - 5 mins

Teacher Will: Students Will:

Teacher will pose IQ question 1:


In what order did these events occur? Explore in a group setting, maintaining reasonable
What happened first? volume.
What happened last?
Interpret the order of events on the provided
Teacher will have students look at their diagram and stratigraphic record and the sequence of events
determine the order of events. from a stratigraphic record

Teacher will review and display instructions on the Collaborate and nominate a spokes person,
PowerPoint for reference. understanding that a different spokes person will
be named for each explaination.
Teacher will indicate that groups may collaborate on
their stratigraphic diagram, and that each group should Students will be prepared to reconviene after a few
nominate a spokes person. (there will be opportunity minutes of discussion and will be ready to listen
for 3 different spokes persons total) respectfully to classmate observations and
interpretations.
Teacher will also indicate that after a few minutes of
discussion that class will reconvien and discuss the Students will ask questions as needed.
observations and interpretations of the various
diagrams.

Teacher will actively walk around the room observing


student exploration and providing guiding questions
where necessary.

Best Teaching Practice Strategy/Differentiation and Teacher Notes

Teacher will provide engagement/instructions via verbal and written communication.


Students unable to be the spokes person will be allowed to aid the group by other means.
Students who need preferential seating will be accommodated.
Co-teacher will assist in surveying the room to aid in understanding.
Co-teacher will provide one-on-one assistance as needed.
Explain 15 mins

Teacher Will: Students Will:

Teacher will request students listen, observe, and take Students will listen, observe, and take notes as
notes as needed. needed.

Teacher will facilitate student explaination of findings. Group spokespersons will take turns conveying
Requesting that students provide their findings, and their groups observations and interpretations of
explain their reasoning. the stratigraphic diagram (at the board if
preferred).
Teacher will display each diagram on the PowerPoint
as students explain so that the whole class may see Students will actively listen to other groups
better understand or refute their explanations (may findings and will observe the stratigraphic diagram
prompt spokespersons to demonstrate on the class under discussion.
visual).
Students will participate in constructional
Following the student explanation, teacher will invite feedback.
the other groups to add or adjust the explanation
provided by the group. Students will take note on key terms and concepts
as they are reviewed.
As students explain their findings, the teacher will
connect those findings to the laws and principles used
in relative dating.

Teacher will explain that the students just used the


method of relative dating to help them determine the
Geologic Record of their stratigraphic diagram.

Teacher will fill in the gaps of any vocabulary and


conceptual information necessary to aid in the
following activity using a PowerPoint tha provides
visual and written concepts.
Best Teaching Practice Strategy/Differentiation and Teacher Notes

Teacher will provide definitions and concepts via verbal and written communication.
Students unable to be the spokes person will be allowed to aid the group by other means.
Students who need preferential seating will be accommodated.
Co-teacher will assist in surveying the room to aid in understanding.
Co-teacher will provide one-on-one assistance as needed.
Elaborate 10 mins

Teacher Will: Students Will:

Teacher will provide students with a more in-depth Obtain a copy of Stratigraphic Sequence WS: Part
diagram (Stratigraphic Sequence WS: Part 2). *Note 2.
that there are 3 different versions that groups will be
reviewing. Within each group all members should have Obtain a copy of the
the same version.

Teacher will pass out a guide that describes the various Take notes as needed.
laws and principles.

Teacher will review and display instructions on the Students will work in collaboration (or
PowerPoint for reference. individually) to interpret the order of events in the
Stratigraphic Sequence Part II, while identifying
Teacher will employ students to determine the order of and explaining using key terms and concepts.
events on the provided diagram (2 different diagrams in
circulation), and describe them using the key terms and
concepts reviewed.

Teacher will Pose IQ question 2:


In what order did these events occur?
Using the concepts we just discussed, how can you
explain your interpretations?
Students will appoint a new spokes person for each
Teacher will indicate that a new group spokes person group.
will be needed to convey the information.
Students will be prepared for group discussion
A time period of 7 minutes will be provided for student after 7 minutes of collaboration.
collaboration.
Students will ask questions as needed.
Teacher will walk the room and check for
understanding.
Group spokes person will be prepared to explain
The teacher will then ask the group spokes persons to diagram using key terms and concepts learned
provide obsevation and interpretation using the key (modeling at the board if requested).
terms and concepts.

Teacher will use PowerPoint/SmartBoard markers to


convey student findings. (i.e. use to mark
unconformities, cross-cutting, etc)

(Teacher may ask student to demonstrate at the board


as well)
Best Teaching Practice Strategy/Differentiation and Teacher Notes

Teacher will provide instructions, definitions, and concepts via verbal and written communication.
Students unable to be the spokes person will be allowed to aid the group by other means.
Students who need preferential seating will be accommodated.
Co-teacher will assist in surveying the room to aid in understanding.
Co-teacher will provide one-on-one assistance as needed.
Evaluate 20 mins

Teacher Will: Students Will:

Provide students with white boards and expo markers. Gather the needed supplies.

Briefly cover appropriate use of materials. Students will use the materials appropriately.

Instruct students to create their own stratigraphic Students will work as a group to develop a
record that follows the concepts discussed in todays stratgraphic record that follows the concepts used
activities. in relative dating.

Instruct students to be prepared to identify 3 of the Students will include a minimum of 3 of the
concepts within their stratigraphic record, and to reviewed concepts within their stratigraphic
present the order of events and explaination on how record.
they determined this conclusion.
Students will prepare to present to the class the
Teacher will walk the room to check for understanding. sequence of events and an explanation of the
events demonstrated on their stratigraphic record.
Teacher will reconvien discussion 10 minutes prior to
the conclusion of class to allow for students to present Students will ask questions as needed.
their findings.
Students will reconviein 10 minutes prior to the
Teacher will address any misconceptions. conclusion of class and will present their findings
to the class.

Students will present the created record as a group


and explain inferences that could be made on the
internal and surface processes that would result in
the student created record.
Closure:

Teacher will revisit and explain how students made observations and interpreted the provided stratigraphic
records and explained their findings. This all built up to student modeling their knowledge of relative dating
concepts in the creation of their own stratigraphic profile utilizing key concepts that are used by geologists
in the field (i.e. cross-cutting relations, the principle of original horizontality, etc). Explain how geologists
use relative dating to better understand the past, for example the Great Unconformity of the Grand Canyon
which demonstrates a significant gap in the geologic record, or an igneous intrusion cutting through several
layers, depicitcing possible volcanism or previous presence of a magma chamber.

Stratigraphic Sequence Worksheets Part 1 (for engage/explore activity):

Stratigraphic Sequence Worksheets Part 2 (for elaborate activity):


Assessment Rubric (for evaluate activity):

3 points 2 points 1 point 0 points


Stratigraphic record Stratigraphic record Stratigraphic record Stratigraphic record
has at least 3 layers. has 2 layers. has 1 layer. has no layers.

Stratigraphic record Stratigraphic record Stratigraphic record Stratigraphic record


includes 3 or more of includes 2 of the includes 1 of the does not include
the concepts covered concepts covered concepts covered concepts covered
during the activity. during the activity. during the activity. during the activity.

Group correctly Group correctly


Group identifies some
identifies 3 or more of identifies some of the Group does not
of the concepts
the concepts covered concepts covered identify concepts
covered though
within their within their covered.
incorrect.
stratigraphic record. stratigraphic record.

Illustrations are unclear


Illustrations are clear Illustrations are able to No attempt made or
and difficult to
and easily interpreted. interpret. incomplete.
interpret.