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By matching partial sequences, the truly oldest layers with fossils can be worked out.By correlating fossils from various parts of the world, scientists are able to give relative ages to particular strata. Relative dating tells scientists if a rock layer is "older" or "younger" than another.*Life Science: Fossils indicate that many organisms that lived long ago are extinct.Extinction of species is common; most of the species that have lived on the earth no longer exist.These major concepts are part of the Denver Earth Science Project's "Paleontology and Dinosaurs" module written for students in grades 7-10.The module is an integrated unit which addresses the following National Science Education Standards: *Science as Inquiry: Students develop the abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry identify questions, design and conduct scientific investigations, use appropriate tools and technologies to gather, analyze and interpret data, think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations, communicate results, and use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.*Earth and Space Science: Fossils provide important evidence of how life and environmental conditions have changed.The complete "Paleontology and Dinosaurs" module takes approximately four weeks to teach. " activity is a 30-minute introduction to geologic time.
Although most attention in today's world focuses on dinosaurs and why they became extinct, the world of paleontology includes many other interesting organisms which tell us about Earth's past history.Time factors of millions and billions of years is difficult even for adults to comprehend.However, "relative" dating or time can be an easy concept for students to learn.Locally, physical characteristics of rocks can be compared and correlated.On a larger scale, even between continents, fossil evidence can help in correlating rock layers.