Geologic Time Scale: The No-Adding-Machine-Tape, Annotated, Illustrated Timeline

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2.35 MB   |   25 pages


A 25-page packet that includes a fun build it yourself annotated geologic timeline with supporting worksheets. This packet includes components for differentiated instruction and simple directions for both teacher and students.

If you teach kids about the geologic timeline, you have probably run into those timeline activities that require kids to use adding machine tape. But have you priced adding machine tape? It can be hard to find, too. So I set out to make a timeline that kids could build from pieces cut out from copy paper. Because I am an illustrator in addition to a science teacher, I ended up doing lots of research on geologic time and evolution. Then I illustrated the annotated tabs that kids can cut out, color, and stick on their timeline. The third and fourth thumbnails show what the tabs look like. By completing the timeline with or without tabs, the kids learn A LOT about history of Earth and life on Earth.

This timeline has many components with differentiated instruction built in. You can have the kids simply assemble the timeline, or you can have them add the annotated tabs, too, or even research to make their own tabs. And kids who really want a challenge can do one or both of the extension worksheets included in this packet. The packet has 25 pages. As the teacher, all you really need to do is introduce the concept, decide how much of the activity seems right for your students, run copies, and provide scissors and glue. I have found that allowing four days for the construction and optional worksheets works about right.

Here's what you will find in this product:

1. Instructions for use including how to simply differentiate instruction with this product

2. A 4.6 billion year timeline, both in color and in black and white for kids to color with student instructions for assembly

3. 3 pages of "tabs:" one of them includes information on the most important events in Earth's history, one of them has additional information on biological events, and one of them has additional information on geological events

4. A page of "do it yourself" tabs so that teachers can opt to have kids research geologic time and choose their own significant events

5. Two worksheets for fast finishers who need an additional challenge: one is on the etymology of words found on the timeline, and one is on using scientific notation with timeline dates

6. Directions for you as the teacher...with 25 pages, it helps to have a simple reference to help you decide what to copy! And simple directions for the students, as well.

The study of Earth's history is dynamic and interesting, and there's something about building a 7 1/2 - foot long model that kids really enjoy. I hope you and your students will find this not only rich in content but also lots of fun.

Please note: You may be interested in the Geologic Time Scale Quiz that is available on my TPT store for $2.29 to go along with this activity. I personally have my kids assemble their timelines and then use their completed timelines on the quiz as an "open book" (okay, "open timeline") quiz. For me, it provides a good assessment activity to complete the construction of the timeline. And really, being a geology geek, I am always looking for an excuse to spend 30 extra minutes on this interesting topic!

Geologic Timeline: The Adding Machine Tape-Free Annotated Illustrated Super Timeline by Kelly Terry is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Total Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
4 Days

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Geologic Time Scale: The No-Adding-Machine-Tape, Annotated
Geologic Time Scale: The No-Adding-Machine-Tape, Annotated
Geologic Time Scale: The No-Adding-Machine-Tape, Annotated
Geologic Time Scale: The No-Adding-Machine-Tape, Annotated
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