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The Law of Superposition, which states that in an undisturbed horizontal sequence of rocks the oldest rock layers will be on the bottom, with successively younger rocks on top of these, helps geologists correlate rock layers around the world.

This also means that fossils found in the lowest levels in a sequence of layered rocks represent the oldest record of life there.

Once they are able to manipulate the cards into the correct sequence, they are asked to do a similar sequencing activity using fossil pictures printed on “rock layer” cards.

Sequencing the rock layers will show students how paleontologists use fossils to give relative dates to rock strata. Students place on the table and work in small groups to sequence the eight cards by comparing letters that are common to individual cards, and therefore, overlap. The first card in the sequence has “Card 1, Set A” in the lower left-hand corner and represents the bottom of the sequence.

Students learn best when basic skills are taught in a vital challenging context that makes the skills meaningful.

The idea of millions and billions of years is difficult for children and adults to comprehend.

Look carefully at the second set of cards with sketches of fossils on them.

Each card represents a particular rock layer with a collection of fossils that are found in that particular rock stratum.

Scientists also use direct evidence from observations of the rock layers themselves to find the relative age of rock layers.

Specific rock formations are indicative of a particular type of environment existing when the rock was being formed.

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For example, most limestone represents marine environments, whereas, sandstones with ripple marks might indicate a shoreline habitat or riverbed.

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