African rift valleys were formed by the separation of tectonic plates. Water flows down to the valley floors, creating rivers and lakes.
Dr. John Shea demonstrates the two main principles in the study of rock layers: superposition and association.
A short article by Dr. Sean B. Carroll detailing the discoveries covered in the film The Day The Mesozoic Died.
A lesson in which students analyze the chemical data that led researchers to conclude that the K-T boundary layer contained an extraordinary concentration of iridium.
A lesson in which students read a passage and answer questions about the information presented, testing their non-fiction reading comprehension.
A worksheet in which students calculate how much iridium was released, and eventually deposited all over the Earth, by the impact of the asteroid that caused the K-T extinction.
A hands-on activity in which students see first-hand the difference in foraminifera fossils below and above the K-T boundary.
A worksheet in which students write down the evidence that led to the discovery that an asteroid struck Earth about 66 million years ago, causing a mass extinction.
EarthViewer was designed as an interactive learning tool. Download the PDF linked in the right hand column for some ideas on how to use the app in your class, or click on the EarthViewer link to find out more about the app.
A poster from the 2012 Holiday Lectures on Science, Changing Planet: Past, Present, Future. It details the importance of foraminifera, known as "forams" for short, in discovering significant changes in Earth's past.
A poster from the 2012 Holiday Lectures on Science, Changing Planet: Past, Present, Future. It illustrates how the Earth has evolved over the past 4.6 billion years, and highlights how that evolution influences biological evolution.
A lesson in which students analyze graphs and data on pollen grains and fern spores to form a picture of the living landscape before and after the K-T mass extinction.
Has Earth changed over deep time? How did Earth shape life and life shape Earth? What does Earth's climate in the distant past tell us about the future?
Microbes have been the dominant life form throughout Earth's history. Eukaryotes and animals evolved only after microbes evolved oxygen-generating photosynthesis.
The theory of plate tectonics took many decades to become accepted. The process by which it was finally accepted provides a fascinating glimpse into how scientists build new scientific consensus.
Earth has been both cooler and warmer in the past, but the change is usually gradual. The current rate of carbon dioxide increase is unprecedented in human history, and solutions to mitigate its effect on global warming are challenging to implement.
Scientific evidence for global climate change is overwhelming, yet the American public remains skeptical. History provides insights into how a Cold War-era think tank became an influential source of anti-regulation sentiment.
A discussion on climate change with the students attending the 2012 Holiday Lectures on Science.
Students discuss the short film after a screening at the 2012 Holiday Lectures on Science.
Continents rose in elevation after ice sheets from the last ice age retreated. This suggested that the underlying mantle is pliable.
The concept that continents float on a pliable mantle is an important element of the theory of continental drift.
Dr. Lyson describes dinosaur digs as well as his focus on prehistoric turtle fossils.
Reconstructing past continental plate movements reveals the island of Spitsbergen was tropical 500 million years ago.
The breakup of a supercontinent into several smaller continents explains the distribution of fossil and geologic evidence.
An early model of continental drift proposed that parts of continental plates can sink into the mantle, allowing for movement.