Rock Layers & Index Fossils

Next Generation Standards

MS-ESS1-4 - Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth's 4.6-billion-year-old history.

Clarification Statement - Emphasis is on how analyses of rock formations and the fossils they contain are used to establish relative ages of major events in Earth’s history. Examples of Earth’s major events could range from being very recent (such as the last Ice Age or the earliest fossils of homo sapiens) to very old (such as the formation of Earth or the earliest evidence of life). Examples can include the formation of mountain chains and ocean basins, the evolution or extinction of particular living organisms, or significant volcanic eruptions.

Assessment Boundary - Assessment does not include recalling the names of specific periods or epochs and events within them.

Massachusetts Standards

6.MS-ESS1-4 - Analyze and interpret rock layers and index fossils to determine the relative ages of rock formations that result from processes occurring over long periods of time.

Clarification Statements - Analysis includes laws of superposition and crosscutting relationships limited to minor displacement faults that offset layers. Processes that occur over long periods of time include changes in rock types through weathering, erosion, heat, and pressure

State Assessment Boundary - Strata sequences that have been reordered or overturned, names of specific periods or epochs and events within them, or the identification and naming of minerals or rock types are not expected in state assessment.

Unit & Lesson Plans

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Simulations & Investigations

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Additional Resources

MS-ESS1-4 - Geologic Time Scale