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Chapter Overview

This chapter explains how Earth formed, how its atmosphere and oceans developed, and how its continents changed. It also traces the evolution of life on Earth, from its earliest beginnings to the present.

Online Resources

See the following Web sites for appropriate laboratory activities:

In this lab, students will gain an understanding of deep time—the 4.6 billion years of Earth's history. They will become familiar with events in Earth's history and how they relate to one another by sequencing the events.

Use the evolution lab at the first URL below when you teach Lesson 12.3 (“History of Earth’s Life Forms”). The activity examines how natural selection works to bring about the evolution of adaptations. Using an online simulation tool, students can slow down the process to watch all the steps involved or speed it up to see how the population evolves over time. You can find a worksheet to guide students through the lab at the second URL.

These Web sites may also be helpful:

You (or your students) can review more detailed information on the origin of Earth and the moon, including some earlier theories, at these URLs:

This website offers a growing collection of teaching materials and research results that will aid in the understanding of and teaching about early Earth.

You can find free online access to the National Academy of Sciences book “Teaching Evolution and the Nature of Science” at the following URL. It provides great perspective on a topic that is still controversial in some school districts. The book includes a discussion of the importance of teaching evolution and describes several classroom activities on the subject.

Pacing the Lessons

Lesson Class Period(s) (60 min)
12.1 The Origin of Earth 1.5
12.2 Early Earth 1.0
12.3 History of Earth’s Life Forms 2.5

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