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Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4

Grade Levels
6th - 8th
Formats Included
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67 pages
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  1. Parts of this can be used as a Distance Learning PacketThis bundle for Earth and Space Science for middle school NGSS covers all the standards for Middle School Earth’s Place in the Universe. Students will develop models of the Earth-Sun-Moon system, explain gravity in galaxies, and determine the sc
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  2. This resource is designed to meet the NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: History of The Planet Earth, Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions, Earth's Materials and Systems, The Role of Water in Earth's Surface Processes. Students will be engaged in hands-on labs and close reading passages to
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Learning Objective

Students will learn how evidence from rock strata is used to understand geologic time.


Parts of this can be used as a Distance Learning Packet. Students will construct an explanation based on evidence from rock strata and the fossil record to explain the geologic time scale and age of the Earth. This unit addresses the NGSS middle school standard from Earth’s Place in the Universe strand. Aligned with NGSS and Utah SEEd. See more of this resource on my blog Age of the Earth

MS-ESS1-4. Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth’s 4.6-billion-year-old history.


Utah SEEd 7.2.6

7th grade

Make an argument from evidence for how the geologic time scale shows the age and history of Earth. Emphasize scientific evidence from rock strata, the fossil record, and the principles of relative dating such as superposition, uniformitarianism, and recognizing unconformities.

This unit includes an informative slideshow on the methods scientists use to find the age of the Earth.  Students will also have three pages on nonfiction text passages with comprehension questions. Students will use computational thinking to make a scaled-down timeline of the major events in Earth’s history and they will construct scientific explanations on the age of the Earth.  This unit ends with a two-page assessment in the format similar to the end of year testing.

This resource also includes response pages, interactive notebook inserts, lesson plans in the 5-E format, and answer keys.  

Science topics addressed include:

Age of Earth


Relative age

Absolute age

Radioactive dating

Law of Superposition

Principle of Cross-cutting relationships

Principle of Original Horizontality

Index Fossils

Isotopes and half-life

Geologic Time Scale

Precambrian Time

Paleozoic Era

Mesozoic Era

Cenozoic Era

Major Events in Earth History

Created by Lynda R. Williams

Teaching Science With Lynda

How to use Age of the Earth in your Middle School Classroom

Please see my other resource for NGSS Middle School

Scale and Properties of Objects in the Solar System NGSS MS ESS1-3

Gravity in the Solar System NGSS ESS1-2

Weather and Climate Complete NGSS Unit Save 20%

Total Pages
67 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 Weeks
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth’s 4.6-billion-year-old history. Emphasis is on how analyses of rock formations and the fossils they contain are used to establish relative ages of major events in Earth’s history. Examples of Earth’s major events could range from being very recent (such as the last Ice Age or the earliest fossils of homo sapiens) to very old (such as the formation of Earth or the earliest evidence of life). Examples can include the formation of mountain chains and ocean basins, the evolution or extinction of particular living organisms, or significant volcanic eruptions. Assessment does not include recalling the names of specific periods or epochs and events within them.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.
Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.


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