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Geologic Time Scale Activities for Middle School Science

The resources below will provide students a comprehensive understanding of geologic time scale. All of the following lessons are also included in the Kesler Science Membership.

The Geologic Time Scale 5E Lesson includes materials for every "E" phase, including the Geologic Time Scale Station Lab for Exploration and an interactive PowerPoint with digital INB templates for Explanation.

The lesson also includes introduction materials for Engagement, student-choice project ideas for Elaboration, and assessments for Evaluation.

After completing the Geologic Time Scale 5E Lesson, students will be able to classify and examine the Earth's geologic history and identify major events in Earth's geologic history.

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The Geologic Time Scale Inquiry Lab is a hands-on activity that is differentiated for advanced, on-level, and modified middle school students.

Students will use index fossils to organize layers of the earth in relation to the geologic time scale.

The Geologic Time Scale Inquiry Lab includes a brief reading passage, comprehension checks, hands-on activities, reflection questions, and a CER conclusion.

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Geologic Time Scale Classroom Experiences

Create a powerful student experience to help solidify students' understanding about the geologic time scale. All of the following experiences are also included in the Kesler Science Membership.

Escape Rooms

The Plate Tectonics Escape Room is an immersive experience for your students. It allows them to demonstrate their knowledge of plate tectonics and Wegener's continental drift theory in a fun and engaging way.

Students must use what they have learned to describe how plate tectonics causes major geological events such as ocean basin formation, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain building; to describe the historical development of evidence that supports plate tectonic theory; to construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales; and to analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions to complete the escape room.


The I Lava You STEM Challenge uses the engineering design process to create a map of the local area and a report that supports your build site.

Students will be using collaborative skills such as brainstorming with their peers and reflecting on their progress during the project.

At the end of the I Lava You STEM challenge, students are given an opportunity to share their projects outside of the classroom.

Year-Round Resources

These year-round activities will increase your students' understanding of many middle school science topics. All of these activities are also included in the Kesler Science Membership.

Visual Data & Graphing

You're not alone if your students struggle with understanding graphs, charts, and tables. It's a skill that takes an enormous amount of practice. This resource will help students build a strong foundation in analyzing data and creating their own data visualizations.

Bell Ringers and Warm-Ups

These middle school science bell ringers are an excellent way to engage your students as soon as they walk into your classroom. This comprehensive FULL YEAR resource includes everything you need to start off each science class with an interesting warm-up activity.

Review Board Games

Each game board has been carefully designed to keep students engaged. There are 10 different action spaces on each board and dozens of question cards. All of the actions are related to science concepts and keep the students motivated throughout the game.

Each game is ready to play. Simply print out the board and the cards and let the students enjoy reviewing nine different units.

Essential Questions and Standards

Below are the essential questions and standards associated with the lessons and activities included in the geologic time scale unit. This topic is only one of more than 100 middle school science topics included in the Kesler Science Membership.

Essential Questions
  • How does the relative and absolute age of rocks and the fossil record provide evidence to Earth’s geologic history?
  • How is Earth’s geologic history classified?
  • What are some major events in the Earth’s geologic history?
  • MS LS4-1 - Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past
  • MS ESS1-4 - Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth’s 4.6-billion-year-old history
  • MS ESS2-3 - Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions

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Kesler Science Membership

Imagine never having to search for another middle school science lesson again. The membership gives you access to ALL of the Kesler Science products in one place (Yes, including everything above).

Say goodbye to long hours of lesson prep.