Geologic History and Climate Change

About This Video

Grade Level: 9-12

Length: 11 minutes

Next Generation Science Standards:

This video doesn’t cover the following standards in depth, but can serve as a supplemental resource in addition to current classroom curriculum.

HS-ESS1-6. Apply scientific reasoning and evidence from ancient Earth materials, meteorites, and other planetary surfaces to construct an account of Earth’s formation and early history.

HS-ESS1-5. Evaluate evidence of the past and current movements of continental and oceanic crust and the theory of plate tectonics to explain the ages of crustal rocks.

HS-ESS2-2. Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.

HS-ESS2-4. Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy onto and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.

HS-ESS2-6. Develop quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.

HS-ESS2-7. Construct an argument based on evidence about the simultaneous coevolution of Earth’s systems and life on Earth.

Video Discussion Questions

  1. Why do you think geologists and paleontologists are continually changing the geologic time scale?
  2. How are historic concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases measured?
  3. Describe how positive feedback cycles accelerate the rate of climate change.
  4. What causes the transition from one geologic period to another?

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Classroom Activities

Carrying Out Investigations and Analyzing Data

Collecting data is a big part of the scientific process. Interpreting the data collected is even more important than the actual data itself! Practicing these skills is necessary when conveying and interpreting scientific concepts.  

  • Are your students eager to learn more about plate tectonics? Have them explore PhET Interactive Simulation where they can manipulate variables and produce data.
  • Students can learn about volcanism through exploring UNAVCO’s resources aimed at examining how scientists monitor Yellowstone National Park and analyze geological data.
  • Want to watch global earthquake monitoring happen in real-time? Check out this Seismic Monitoring Map provided by Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS).
  • Analyze seismic data from newsworthy earthquake events through the Rapid Earthquake Viewer resource provided by Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS).
  • Explore the Anthropocene geologic period with this interactive website.

Arguing from Evidence

Evidence assists policymakers in decision-making. Knowing how to interpret and develop an argument from evidence is an essential skill for conveying opinions.

  • Students can explore and examine evidence to determine the Earth’s interior layers with IRIS’s instructional resources.

Math and Computational Challenges

Math and computational skills are utilized in science investigations. Try practicing those skills within the context of real-world application.

  • Explore a carbon tracking modeling system to practice and develop an understanding of what data means within a model or simulation. NOAA’s carbon tracker simulation provides students the opportunity to look at data to create current day models and predictive models.