Weighing the Evidence for a Mass Extinction: Part 1 – In the Ocean

Extinction events have happen throughout geologic history, but only five mass extinctions occurred over the last 4.5 billion years. Scholars view fossils from a layer of sediment during an extinction event and observe patterns to draw conclusions. Then, they compare the size of fossils using calculations since the scale of each photo varies.

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CCSS: Designed
NGSS: Designed
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Instructional Ideas
  • Explain why the International Union of Geological Sciences removed the tertiary period in 1989 and what replaced it
  • Extend the lesson by debating if we are currently in the middle of a mass extinction event
Classroom Considerations
  • Relies on prior knowledge of fossils, rock layers, and the geological time scale
  • Connects math and science concepts
  • Encourages higher order thinking skills
  • None