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FOSS Earth History Inv 7 - Fossils and Time (3 days)
Big Idea
Index Fossils as evidence for determining the relative age of sedimentary rocks and explores fossil succession over geological time. 
The geological time scale interpreted from rock strata provides a way to organize Earth's history. Analyses of rock strata and the fossil record provide only relative dates, not an absolute scale. (A Framework for K-12 Education: Core Idea ESS1.C)
Essential Questions
How can fossils be used to indicate relative age of rock layers?
How do we know what organisims and environments existed in the past?

Formulate questions based on observations that lead to the development of a hypothesis.
Analyze results of data collection in order to accept or reject the hypothesis.
Describe how the rock and fossil record show that environmental conditions have changed over geologic and recent time.
Keep a record of observations, notes, sketches, questions, and ideas using tools such as written and/or computer logs.
Communicate the results of an investigation with appropriate use of qualitative and quantitative information.
Use index fossils to correlate rock layers in the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Parks. Compare various events and fossils to derive a sequence of faunal succession over geological time
Students will correlate the rock layers of 3 different areas.
Students will make inferences as to the sequence of events throughout Earth's history.
Science & Engineering Practices
Analyzing and Interpreting Data:  students analyze information to find a pattern and correlate rock layers
Content/Core Ideas
  • Index fossils can be used as indicators for the age of sedimentary layers.
  • Fossil evidence supports the law of fossil succession: the kinds of animals and plants found as fossils change over geologic time.
Crosscutting Concepts
Stability and Change
Learning Practices
CC:7.RI.1  students read A Fossil Primer
CC:7.W.4  Journal-students write about impressions of Card Sequencing activity
Academic Vocabulary
  • fossils
  • index fossils
  • correlate
Mid-summative Exam 7
assess fossil correlations
Index-Fossil Correlation Questions