Grade levels: 9-12

Lesson Objective: The Learner Will Be Able To:

1. Gain an understanding of the time frame of glaciation.
2. Create a visual representation of glacial time as it relates to human time.
3. Work effectively and cooperatively in groups.

  • Computers with internet access
  • Long strips of paper, cardboard, etc.
  • Students bring their own items to represent units of time
  • glue, pens, felts,
  • rulers
Lesson Process:

1. Begin the class by having students write down on a piece of paper their own individual answers to the following:
a. The five most important things that have happened in their lives.
b. The five most important things that have happened in the 20th and 21st centuries.
c. Five things that are very, very old.

2. Have students write dates beside each of their answers.

3. On the chalkboard, draw a rough time line of glaciation. You can find a good sample in your class text or online. Explain that today, the class is going to discuss linear time in large quantities in order to understand, in a more concrete way, what is meant when we discuss glacial time. Also discuss how students will choose a scale for their time line (as in 1mm=1,000 years?) depending on how long their scale will be, how much time it will cover, and the width or length of the item they have chosen to represent amounts of time. For example, students may use dried rice, kidney beans, lentils, etc. They will measure five samples from the stock they have brought in, take an average, measure their paper, and decide on a reasonable scale.

4. Students will construct their scale by representing glacial periods and interglacial periods with different coloured objects (either painting beans, having different coloured lentils, or different kinds of rice etc), creating a key at the bottom of the scale. The finishing touch will be to measure and indicate, and label on the time scale the 15 events they wrote down at the beginning of the class. This will provide perspective. At the end of the class, have students share the perspectives they have gained through physically representing time in a spatial manner.