Geologic Timeline- Discovery

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Students will be able to discover some text features of geologic timelines.

Big Idea

Geologic timelines are HUGE!!!

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Purpose of Lesson:

 The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to the text features in geologic timelines.  


Major Strategies to Watch for:

1) Shared Reading- The students and I explore a new genre together.

2) Accountable Talk- Students use sentence starters to discuss the text features of the geologic timelines to produce an anchor chart.  

Ready. Set. Engage!

5 minutes

Learning Goal: Discover some features of Geologic timelines.

Opening Question: How do you make a timeline?  What does a timeline look like?

Students record their opening question on their learning goal sheet and are ready to start class 3 min after the bell has rung.  I reward students who get started early with ROCK STAR SCIENTIST tickets.  

Follow the links to learn more about the beginning of class strategies and ROCK STAR scientist tickets.   

 Today in class I called on students to describe timelines and talk about times that they had made or used timelines in class.  This was very useful because it turned out that several teachers were using timelines in class at this time.


5 minutes

The Four ways to understand the Earth's age video is a great intro to the history of the Earth. We will watch it later in the unit as well.

For this lesson, I want students to simply understand the length of time a geologic timeline encompasses. I ask students to write down important dates that they hear during the video. At the end of the video, the students share their important dates with each other.

Discovery Activity

10 minutes

The purpose of this section is to introduce students to geologic timelines and help them get familiar with the features.  Today in class I am using a Shared Reading strategy.  This is day one of a three day strategy.  I start by having the students spend 1-2 min perusing the sample timelines at their desk.  Students have previewd readings before so they know that they are looking to find what type of reading it is, what the purpose is, and text features that they notice.  Check out the literacy framework to find other ways that I embed reading and writing in science.

Once the students have looked at the timelines on the desk, I do a focus lesson to open my thinking about Geological timelines up to the students.  In my focus lesson, I am attempting to both point out text features for the students to notice and help explain the purpose behind the genre.  

In this video I introduce the students to some of the text features of the geologic timelines.

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At the end of the focus lesson I have students use sticky notes to record their noticings.   We'll use these sticky notes in the next section.


7 minutes

The purpose of this section is to give students a chance to process timelines together and to make an anchor chart as a class that will help us remember how to decode geological timelines.

To start this section: I put up the anchor chart on the discussion sentences starters that we use in class.  I quickly go over the discussion sentence starters and then tell students that my expectation is that they will be using the sentence starters to have an academic conversation.

 I like to monitor the conversations using a tool like Class dojo that allows me to push student behavior by positively recognizing good academic behaviors for the class to see.  I stand in the middle of the room and tune into the conversations that are happening at the tables.  

Once the students are done with their conversations, I use a bell to pull the students back to a whole class instruction.  By this point, I have organized their sticky notes on the board by category.  I share out loud with the students what the sticky notes stated.  Then, I ask students to point out features about the geologic timeline from their discussions that they think are important to go on an anchor chart.  As the students point out features, I chart them on large post it paper.  We will use these charts again and again in the next couple of weeks.  


Independent Work

10 minutes

The purpose of this section is to give kids a chance to practice with their learning on geologic timelines.  I ask the students to get out a piece of paper and write down 10 important events in their lives.  Then I ask them to use those events to make a GEOLOGIC Timeline of their life.  I point out to students that this is not a regular timeline, it needs to follow the rules on our anchor chart.  Then I let students work for the rest of the period as I walk around using praise- prompt- leave to keep kids focused and working.  Today when I walked around I found that many students were still making the timelines backward.  I had these students fix their timelines, but I like the fact that this assignment uncovered that misconception.  

This student correctly used personal dates to make a Geologic Timeline. This student remember to start at the present day and go backwards, but they did not adjust the dates.  They should fix the dates before turning it in so they start at 0 and work backwards to 12 years ago.


2 minutes

Closing Statement: Today we looked at a type of reading called "Geologic Timelines"  This is a genre that allows us to follow events from the beginning of earth's history to present day.

Closing Question:  "What were the most important things to know about geologic timelines?"

Closure depends greatly on timing and is not as easy to plan in advance as opening.  You can find more information about how I manage closure here.