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Scientists also use direct evidence from observations of the rock layers themselves to help determine the relative age of rock layers.Specific rock formations are indicative of a particular type of environment existing when the rock was being formed.Time factors of millions and billions of years is difficult even for adults to comprehend.However, "relative" dating or time can be an easy concept for students to learn.By matching partial sequences, the truly oldest layers with fossils can be worked out.By correlating fossils from various parts of the world, scientists are able to give relative ages to particular strata. Relative dating tells scientists if a rock layer is "older" or "younger" than another.
The module is an integrated unit which addresses the following National Science Education Standards: *Science as Inquiry: Students develop the abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry identify questions, design and conduct scientific investigations, use appropriate tools and technologies to gather, analyze and interpret data, think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations, communicate results, and use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.
This relative time scale divides the vast amount of earth history into various sections based on geological events (sea encroachments, mountain-building, and depositional events), and notable biological events (appearance, relative abundance, or extinction of certain life forms).
Objectives: When you complete this activity, you will be able to: (1) sequence information using items which overlap specific sets; (2) relate sequencing to the Law of Superposition; and (3) show how fossils can be used to give relative dates to rock layers.
Materials: two sets of sequence cards in random order (set A: nonsense syllables; set B: sketches of fossils), pencil, paper Procedure Set A: 1) 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 first card in the sequence has "Card 1, Set A" in the lower left-hand corner and represents the bottom of the sequence.