Rocks: Earth's Autobiography

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Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the fourth of four Science Objects in the Rocks SciPack. It investigates how geologists have used rocks to help determine the approximate age of the Earth and provide a timeline of how the Earth’s surface and environments have changed over time. Scientists have tools to estimate the ages of rock and the overall time scale of the rock cycle. Some processes happen quickly and some happen slowly, but the oldest rocks indicate that the rock cycle has been recycling Earth’s material continuously for roughly 4 billion years. The same processes have been at work throughout Earth’s history, and therefore scientists can use the present to interpret the past. Observations of rock (textures, minerals, and fossils found within it) provides evidence of the environment and processes through which it formed, including the pressures, temperatures, and forces that created it.

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Reviews (5)
  • on Sun Mar 15, 2015 10:26 AM

There is a huge amount of scientific evidence of how the age of the Earth has been determined. This will require several viewings to digest.

Robin Willig  (Rye Brook, NY)
Robin Willig (Rye Brook, NY)

  • on Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:46 AM

I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Rocks: Earth's Autobiography Science Object will help me re-learn, refresh, or learn for the first time some critical science concepts I will have to know to obtain my Science Educator credentials. I appreciate that I can complete them at my own pace, and that, if used as park of a SciPack, I have access to a content expert to go to for help. The NSTA Learning Center Science Objects are very beneficial! Not only will they enrich my teaching, the knowledge will enrich my life.

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:20 PM

I really enjoyed this science object. The writing was very clear and examples were relevant. Additional examples were also given to clarify the geology information. Good diagrams were used to illustrate content, and there were several suggested hands-on or interactive applications. Well worth the time to brush up on geology content!

Beverly  (Shelby, NC)
Beverly (Shelby, NC)

  • on Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:58 PM

This was awesome! I have always had a little bit of a time dealing with everything in geology and time. I think that this lesson was nice as a review and a great source of wonderful pictures to use.

Donald B  (Stafford, VA)
Donald B (Stafford, VA)

  • on Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:56 PM

Does a good job explaining the principles scientists use to determine the relative age of rocks (e.g., fossils, inclusions, the law of superposition, etc.). The photos help to describe the many paths a rock could take through the rock cycle including gradual and rapid processes. Good resource to refresh educators’ knowledge of the dating of rocks, and to provide educators with the background information needed to address scholars’ misconceptions.

Lorrie Armfield  (Laurel, MD)
Lorrie Armfield (Laurel, MD)


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