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Monday Morning Ready09.19.2019
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Some 240 million years ago, the patch of land that would one day become the National Mall was part of an enormous supercontinent known as Pangea. Encompassing nearly all of Earth's extant land mass, Pangea bore little resemblance to our contemporary planet. ... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

If it were possible, would you rather travel back in the past or forward to the future? Why?

Grade 5-6

If you could travel back in time, when and where would you go? Why?

Grade 7-8

Some 240 million years ago, nearly all of the land on Earth was part of an enormous supercontinent known as Pangea. Because of plate tectonics, Earth's surface is always changing. What do you think Earth's surface will look like 240 million years into the future?

Grade 9-10

According to the article, the Ancient Earth interactive map shows how land on Earth's surface has changed over time. It also offers 26 timeline options, brief descriptions of chosen time periods and has toggle display options related to globe rotation, lightning and cloud coverage. What other options would you add to make this app even better?

LESSON PLAN
Write About Neighborhood Change

PROCESS:

  1. Prior to conducting this activity, access the Ancient Earth interactive map. Using your school's address, select various time periods and work with the app's other tools until you fully understand all it has to offer.
  2. As a class, in pairs, or small groups, give students access to the app. Have them enter the school's address and give them time to explore how the area around your school has changed over millions of years.
  3. Instruct students to read all of the content on the screen each time they change the settings so they get as much information as possible. Challenge them to identify the most significant changes that have taken place over time. Encourage them to take detailed notes recording what they learn.
  4. Using their notes as a guideline, instruct students to write a brief essay describing how the area where you live has changed over time. Challenge them to be as factual and descriptive as possible.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their essays with the class. Encourage them to identify the most interesting things they learned as they took a trip through the neighborhood way back in time.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3–4:
Display the app on a whiteboard and review it as a class. Invite students to select various time periods or other features to explore. Encourage students to take notes detailing what they see. Then have each student write a paragraph telling how the neighborhood where they live has changed over millions of years.
Grades 5–6:
Divide the class into small groups. Give groups time to explore the app. Instruct them to select at least five time periods to explore. Then have each group write a detailed essay telling how the neighborhood where they live has changed over millions of years.
Grades 7–8:
Divide the class into pairs. Give partners time to explore the app. Instruct them to select at least seven time periods and three of the offered options. Then have the partners work together to write a detailed essay telling how the neighborhood where they live has changed over millions of years.
Grades 9–10:
Divide the class into pairs. Give partners time to explore the app. Instruct them to review each time period and jump to each of the options offered to see how the area where they live has changed over time. Then have each partner write his or her own essay. Challenge them to be as detailed as possible.
SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
The Dynamic Planet: A Teaching Companion
Introduce students to plate tectonics, Alfred Wegener’s theory about continental drift and more with this expansive unit from the Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Geological Survey, and U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

Plate Tectonics
Watch this National Museum of Natural History video to see how mapping the location of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes can tell us where plate boundaries are. Dr. Elizabeth Cottrell explains how the plates interact and how volcanic eruptions usually cause earthquakes.

Timeline of Mine
In this lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, students will bring in photos and personal items which they will use to illustrate important events in a timeline format. They will design and build a self-standing album, attaching various 2-D and 3-D objects, to create an expressive journal illustrating the important events and objects in their lives.

ETE Game: Evolve or Perish
Invite students to play their way through the last 600 million years with “Evolve or Perish,” the new National Museum of Natural History’s Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems (ETE) board game.

Paleontology Resources
These Paleontology teaching resources from the National Museum of Natural History include short articles written by Smithsonian museum educators; a popular paleontology blog; curated collections of links to lessons, activities, posters, worksheets and more; and videos featuring Smithsonian scientists and experts.

If These Walls Could Speak…
In this lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, students will research, explore and experience a space they choose to examine and then attempt to create models of the space in the past, present and future.

A 16-Million-Year-Old Tree Tells a Deep Story of the Passage of Time
To explain the exceedingly long life of the planet, the Smithsonian’s new fossil hall designers began with this arboreal wonder. Read this Smithsonian magazine article to learn why.
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