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MERLOT II


    

Learning Exercise


Material: Virtual Museum of Fossils
Submitted by: Jacquelyn Hams on Mar 07, 2003
Date Last Modified: Aug 22, 2004
Title: The Time Machine
Description: Students explore the concepts of plate tectonics, geologic time, climate, and the fossil record in an interactive computer lab activity designed for beginning geology, earth science, and geography classes.
Type of Task: Core activity, Student-centered
Time Required 2 - 3 hours
Topics: Introduction to Geology, Introduction to Earth Science, Introductin to Environmental Science, Earth History, Introduction to Geography
Audience: College General Ed
Categories:
Prerequisites Skills: Mathematics, basic computer skills
Learning Objectives: Understand the relationship between geologic time, tectonic plate movement, physical landforms, and evolution of life.
Technical Notes: Requires MS Explorer 4 or later
Text of Learning Exercise: This assignment is designed for students as a one-time laboratory activity that
integrates the concepts of plate tectonics, geologic time, climate, and physical
landforms on earth.

Grade Level: Community college and college introductory courses in geology,
oceanography, geography, earth science

Skills: Critical thinking, math, computer skills, writing.

THE TIME MACHINE

You can become a time traveler in this interactive exercise that allows you to
travel back in time ? geologic time that is. We are talking thousands,
millions, to billions of years ago. Click on a geologic period or era and see
what the climate of the earth was like. Did dinosaurs roam with man? How many
ice ages has earth really had? Was there really a great flood? Is there such a
thing as global warming?

Before you begin, follow these tips to make your journey more enjoyable.

The site is arranged with Eras of geologic time on the left, and Periods of
geologic time on the right of the time scale.

For Example: Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic are eras.

Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous are Periods.


Click on the Era link for descriptive information regarding the earth, position
of the continents and life forms. Click on a period for the interactive portion
of the activity and see the position of the continents and the physical
landforms
and climatic conditions for that period.

Note: Fossils in the school collection will be in the only ones displayed on
the map. If fossils fail to appear on the map, the school may not have them in
the collection. Refer to the descriptive information for details regarding
plant and animal life for that Period.

VISIT THE LINK http://fossils.valdosta.edu/
TO BEGIN YOUR TIME TRAVEL.. ANSWER THE QUESTIONS BELOW AND TURN THEM IN TO THE
INSTRUCTOR AFTER YOU RETURN FROM YOUR JOURNEY.

WATCH OUT FOR THAT BIG METEORITE AT THE END OF THE CRETACEOUS!



Questions

1. 90% of Earth?s history is included in the ________________.
2. How would you describe the position of the continents 750 mya (million years
ago).
3. What life forms were present 740mya?
4. What landforms were present 750 mya?
5. During what geologic period do the continents appear closest to one land
mass?
6. When do the continents appear to break up?
7. How many times in the geologic past has earth experienced major ice ages?
8. Describe the position of the continents during these major ice age events.
9. How many times in the geologic past has the planet experienced global
warming?
10. How can you tell?
11. When was the last period that dinosaurs roamed the earth?
12. What may have caused the dinosaur extinction?
13. When did the first invertebrates evolve?
14. What period is known as the age of the mammals?
15. Describe the position of the continents during the age of the mammals.
16. When were the major mountain ranges formed in North America?
17. When were the Himalaya Mountains formed?
18. When did seafloor spreading begin in the Atlantic Ocean?
19. When did plate motion change from subduction to transform fault motion off
the coast of California?
20. Was the Pacific Ocean always this large? If not, what happened to increase
the size?

Discussion questions for groups in class:

Relate the position of the continents to the evolution of mammals.
Describe the plate tectonic history of southern California.
What effect does continental drift have on global climate change?

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