2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 38
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM

Geologic Time-Line Activity Offers a Way to Teach Evolution Based on Scientific Evidence and Gives Students An Understanding of the Reason Creationism Cannot Be Taught in the Science Classroom

SOWARDS, Susan L., Science Dept, Blennerhassett Jr. High, 444 Jewell Rd, Parkersburg, WV 26104, ssowards@access.k12.wv.us

On Earth Day, students at Blennerhassett Jr. High were assigned a project that began with the birth of Earth and continued to present. First, they determined the scale of the time line (20 inches = 100,000,000 yrs), on a 25 yard length of paper. They were given cards with events, including: first cyanobacteria , Ozone layer formation, Banded Iron formation, first multicellular organisms, reign of mammoths, Tryannosaurus rex, last ice age, Homo erectus, “Lucy”, formation of various mountain ranges, your birth, etc. The students did google searches and cut and pasted images with ages in a word document.

The project got interesting when they began placing images on the scale. Most of the scale was empty, while images were accumulating at 600 million years to present. The students got more images to try to fill empty spaces, but the images kept accumulating in more recent times. They came up with a problem statement: Why are most of the fossils of living things 600 million years old or younger? After a discussion, they realized these fossils have hard parts and many are larger than previous fossils. One student also concluded that the fossils are found closer to the surface and therefore should be more recently buried and easier to find. One group of students presented the Biblical flood, which brought up a discussion of various beliefs of Earth's age based on interpretations of the Bible. They were presented a Creation/Evolution continuum to show how many belief systems are involved. It was concluded that in science we must use only the evidence, because we cannot possibly include all beliefs in a science class.