Earth science relative dating activity

Suppose you find a fossil at one place that cannot be dated using absolute methods.That fossil species may have been dated somewhere else, so you can match them and say that your fossil has a similar age.

earth science relative dating activity-33

In this activity, students begin a sequencing activity with familiar items — letters written on cards.

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.

Different species of ammonites lived at different times within the Mesozoic, so identifying a fossil species can help narrow down when a rock was formed.

Correlation can involve matching an undated rock with a dated one at another location.

Relative dating is used to arrange geological events, and the rocks they leave behind, in a sequence.

The method of reading the order is called stratigraphy (layers of rock are called strata).

Relative dating does not provide actual numerical dates for the rocks.

Fossils are important for working out the relative ages of sedimentary rocks.

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

Once students begin to grasp "relative" dating, they can extend their knowledge of geologic time by exploring radiometric dating and developing a timeline of Earth's history.

Scientists also use direct evidence from observations of the rock layers themselves to help determine the relative age of rock layers.

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