History of Earth: Part 1: Reteach/Extend

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Students will be able to plot events on their timeline.

Big Idea

The history of Earth takes place of an enormous amount of time.

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Purpose of Lesson:

 The purpose of this lesson is to prepare the timelines so that students can start plotting and illustrating events.

Major Strategies to Watch for:

1. Stop and Go Film- Stopping the film often gives the students a chance to discuss, predict, take notes and identify important terms.

2.  Small Group Teaching- By pulling students into small homogenous groups of students with similar needs you can address their needs with more focus and attention.


3 minutes

Learning Goal: Discover some effects of continental drift.

Opening Question: How do you think mountains are formed?  

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.  

After the students have answered the question, I ask them to share their theories with the class.  I put up some of the major hypothesis on the board.  Then I ask students to vote on the hypothesis they think is the most likely.

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


5 minutes

Today for hook, we are simply going to work on making sure that our timelines are ready to have events added to them.

Below are the specs for the timeline.

1) Timelines are made of paper cut in half length wise.

2) There is one cover page and nine content pages.  Students write on the front and the back.

3) There is a line across every page that is 1/3 of the way down the page.

4) The scale is 5 cm = 50 million years.  Students should put 6 dates on each page.


15 minutes

I show the movie in short 13-20 min sections.  I stop the film often to have students record notes on major events using a note catcher. I also use notes that are already made for students with slow processing or writing difficulties. These modified notes make it possible for all students to complete the final project. As we watch the movie, not only do I stop to talk about content but I also stop to point out important vocabulary words. Students record these vocabulary words in their TIP (Term- Information- Picture) charts. 

Today I show from 1:12:11 - 1:18:48 of the movie The Story of Earth.  This relatively short clip contains information about

  • The first primates
  • Continental drift
  • The birth of the Himalayas



20 minutes

This is a point in instruction when the students have different needs. I have some students that are ready to start putting events on their timelines while others are still not complete with getting their timelines ready.

First, I have all the students gets their notes out and I walk around and see where the students are in their progress. For students that are completely done getting their timelines ready, I move them to the left side of the room. For students who are still working on making their scales, I ask them to move to the right side of the room.  

Once the students are separated, I can now teach the students in the small groups and differentiate for the rest of the class time.


For students on the extension work, I do a quick model of how to put an event on the timeline. Then, I ask the students to get started. I come back often to the group to check on progress and answer questions. Below is a screencast of the instructions.

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The students that are not done with making the scale are often struggling with part of the task. I start by grouping the students into small groups of students that have similar problems.  Students that only need more time can get to work right away. Some students need help correcting their scales while others may have made small math errors. Working with these students in small groups can make a big difference in helping them accomplish and finish the task. As students finish, I send them to the extension group to begin plotting the events.  


3 minutes

Closing Statement: Today we saw early primates evolve and how continental drift formed the Himalayas. 

Closing Question: How did the extinction of the dinosaurs lead to the evolution of primates?  Would primates and therefore man have been able to evolve if the dinosaurs had not all died?

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.