Unit 2

Unit 2 (Ch. 5), Views of the Earth's Past

Jurassic Period: 199.6 - 145.5 million years ago
California Content Standards in this Unit:
Earth and Life History (Earth Sciences)
  1. Evidence from rocks allows us to understand the evolution of life on Earth. As a basis for understanding this concept:
    1. Students know Earth processes today are similar to those that occurred in the past and slow geologic processes have large cumulative effects over long periods of time.
    2. Students know the history of life on Earth has been disrupted by major catastrophic events, such as major volcanic eruptions or the impacts of asteroids.
    3. Students know that the rock cycle includes the formation of new sediment and rocks and that rocks are often found in layers, with the oldest generally on the bottom.
    4. Students know that evidence from geologic layers and radioactive dating indicates Earth is approximately 4.6 billion years old and that life on this planet has existed for more than 3 billion years.
    5. Students know fossils provide evidence of how life and environmental conditions have changed.
    6. Students know how movements of Earth's continental and oceanic plates through time, with associated changes in climate and geographic connections, have affected the past and present distribution of organisms.
    7. Students know how to explain significant developments and extinctions of plant and animal life on the geologic time scale.
Marine environment during the Cretaceous Period - 145.5 - 65.5 million years ago

The Separation of Our Last Super Continent, Pangea
An animation of the last 600 million years of plate tectonics.

Prehistoric Animal Research Project

Prehistoric Animal Template

DIRECTIONS for the template. Click the below link. After the file loads, go to File ---> Make a Copy. Give your new file a name. For example, Allosaurus by Walter Alvarez Period 3



Geologic Time Period Research and Presentation Project
Example Presentation Slides from Former Students

You and your partner will conduct research on one or more assigned geologic time epochs/periods/eras/eons.  Together, your class will research the entire geologic time scale.  Find out as much as you can through research of reputable sites and make a PowerPoint presentation to inform the rest of the class.  Essentially, you and your partner need to become the class experts in your area of time research.

Project Sequence:

  1. With your partner, use the internet resources below and take notes about your assigned time eons/eras/periods/epochs.  Search for other sites with caution.  Evaluate every site for credibility - see your teacher for help with this.  
  2. Note the websites you used for research in your presentation. 
  3. Build a PowerPoint or Google Doc Presentation that will inform the rest of the class.  Use artistic pictures of your time period throughout the presentation to give us a sense of what the planet was like at the time.  WARNING: plagiarism is a serious offense!  We will review summarizing, paraphrasing, and use of references in class.
  4. Give your presentation to the class.  The rest of us will be taking notes! 
  5. Turn in your presentation PPT file by flash drive or through sharing in Google Docs.

Presentation Guidelines: 

Your Presentation must have the following:

  • Title Page stating time period(s) researched, you and your partner's names, and an image of a fossil or geologic specimen for the time period with a caption. 
  • Description of time: years your time period(s) span, subdivisions in the time period, image or chart showing where your time period fits in the geologic time scale, and explanation of the name of the time period and its subdivisions. Use images with captions as much as possible.
  • Slide(s) explaining the Earth's conditions at the time - what was the land, oceans, atmosphere like?  Show an image with a caption if you can find an artist's depiction of what the earth might have looked like.  Show an image of where the continents might have been. Use images with captions as much as possible.
  • Slide(s) explaining what life was like during the time.  Use images with captions as much as possible.
  • Slide(s) outlining the major events that happened during your time period.  If you researched more than one time period, please separate events into time periods.  Use images with captions as much as possible.
  • Information and image references must be included on every slide with the title and address of source websites.  This should be small but legible at the bottom of every slide.

Helpful Research Links:

Geologic Time Scale - Wikipedia

Web Geological Time Machine - UC Berkeley 

Geologic Time Scale - Enchanted Learning

Earth Floor, Geologic Time - Center for Educational Technologies, NASA sponsored

Geologic Time - Smithsonian Institute

Geologic Time Directory - Yahoo 

Geologic Time Scale Descriptions - USGS

2009 Stratigraphic Chart - International Commission on Stratigraphy (downloads the chart as a PDF)

Add a Movie to Your Presentation:

Simply add one of the below links and show it to the class as part of your presentation!  Don't see your research topic!?  A specific movie was not available for you though you may have the era or eon of your time period available and you could show that.  The easiest way to be able to show these movies in your presentation is to ctrl-click a link below and select, "copy link location".  Next, paste the link (apple-v) on a slide in your presentation.  When you show your presentation, all you will need to do is click the link.

Follow the above directions to add an of these videos to your presentation:


More Unit 2 Resources

Click the above carbon film fossil of a prehistoric fish for a 20 minute video on fossils

Click the above trace fossils of dinosaur tracks for a 50 minute video on dinosaurs

Check these out:

Trackway at Dinosaur Valley State Park, Blue Hole. Photos by Sue Hovorka, UT BEG.


Geologic Time Spiral - USGS

The Rock Cycle:



Rock Cycle


Plate Tectonic Vocabulary:



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