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The study of fossils and the exploration of what they tell scientists about past climates and environments on Earth can be an interesting study for students of all ages.Teaching about Earth's history is a challenge for all teachers.These major concepts are part of the Denver Earth Science Project's "Paleontology and Dinosaurs" module written for students in grades 7-10.The module is an integrated unit which addresses the following National Science Education Standards: *Science as Inquiry: Students develop the abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry — identify questions, design and conduct scientific investigations, use appropriate tools and technologies to gather, analyze and interpret data, think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations, communicate results, and use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.For example, most limestones represent marine environments, whereas, sandstones with ripple marks might indicate a shoreline habitat or a riverbed.Return to top The study and comparison of exposed rock layers or strata in various parts of the earth led scientists in the early 19th century to propose that the rock layers could be correlated from place to place.Time factors of millions and billions of years is difficult even for adults to comprehend.However, "relative" dating or time can be an easy concept for students to learn.

Making this processes even more difficult is the fact that due to plate tectonics some rock layers have been uplifted into mountains and eroded while others have subsided to form basins and be buried by younger sediments.Locally, physical characteristics of rocks can be compared and correlated.On a larger scale, even between continents, fossil evidence can help in correlating rock layers.With this in mind geologist have long known that the deeper a sedimentary rock layer is the older it is, but how old?Although there might be some mineral differences due to the difference in source rock, most sedimentary rock deposited year after year look very similar to one another.

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