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.
Chronological dating, or simply dating, is the process of attributing to an object or event a date in the past, allowing such object or event to be located in a previously established chronology.
This usually requires what is commonly known as a "dating method".
The age of the fossil must be determined so it can be compared to other fossil species from the same time period.
Understanding the ages of related fossil species helps scientists piece together the evolutionary history of a group of organisms.
For example, based on the primate fossil record, scientists know that living primates evolved from fossil primates and that this evolutionary history took tens of millions of years.
But sometimes, a scientist finds a couple of rock outcrops that are separated by a wide distance.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.These changes typically occur so slowly that they are barely detectable over the span of a human life, yet even at this instant, the Earth's surface is moving and changing.As these changes have occurred, organisms have evolved, and remnants of some have been preserved as fossils.Time factors of millions and billions of years is difficult even for adults to comprehend.