Educational Overview



Ray Troll Stratigraphic Timescale  Here's a great timescale for students by the wonderful artist and illustrator, Ray Troll. We've also included a short video clip of Ray and Kirk Johnson discussing stratigraphy over pancakes at breakfast, and as a special bonus we've added an mp3 of Ray's Ages of Rocks.

How Do We Measure Time Curricula for grades 5-8 and 9-10 provides teachers with thoughtfully sequenced activities, investigations, video chapters, and readings to help students on their journey to understanding how Earth’s history has changed over billions of years. Dr. Kirk Johnson, Chief Curator and Vice President of Research and Collections at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and Dr. Samuel Bowring of the EARTHTIME Project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are the scientists that students connect with as they work to develop the concepts of relative and absolute age. (22 Mb .pdf).

For 2009, we utilized both an in-house Lab Day and our new mobile teaching lab to reach students in the Boston metropolitan area.

A lesson plan for grades 8-12 We've developed a 90 minute lesson plan for students to learn about radioactive decay and the dating of rocks. This is an outgrowth of our 2008 lab day. Download the pdf and the accompanying spreadsheet file. A kit for the exercise is available from EARTHTIME for free (beads, bingo chips, mixing bowl and measuring cup). For teachers: you can learn more here and view our new video with instructions for using the geochronology teaching kit. Holen Sie sich das Lesson Plan in Deutsch hier.

The How Do You Measure Time Posters   This educational module describes in text and graphics how and why scientists use zircon crystals to measure time. The module contains six printable mini-posters.

Determining the Age of Things  These video clips, also developed jointly with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, show how and why scientists determine the age of things. This module comprises seven video clips in Quicktime® format.

Time Scales Here you can find different time scales.

Astronomical Time Scale Understand how periodic variations in the Earth's orbit and tilt relative to the Sun influence climate, and in turn, climate-sensitive sedimentation.

Time Traps The whole world felt the effects of the dinosaur-killing mass extinction 65 million years ago, but a spot in Colorado may have the best record of it (1.5 Mb .pdf).

The Six Most Important Experiments in the World The EARTHTIME experiment is included in this amazing list that ranges from the smartest artificial brain to the first artificial life. (840kb .pdf)

Putting Earth's History in Order A concise overview of EARTHTIME and an interview with founders Sam Bowring and Doug Erwin (332kb pdf).


EARTHTIME is supported by the National Science Foundation.