Modeling Sea Level: Lateral and Vertical Facies Changes

Contributor
Kate Pound
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Map , Model , Data , Demonstration , Experiment/Lab Activity , Activity
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

In this investigation students will create a model to visualize and predict how sequences of sedimentary rocks give us information about how sea level has changed over time. These changes in sea level can control the lateral and vertical facies near a marine sedimentary basin. Students will observe interactions of sedimentary rocks and grain sizes. Students will use their knowledge to draw a sea-level curve for Paleozoic rocks of the Central Midwestern US. Students will also be able to critique the model they created and identify shortcomings and assumptions in their model.

 

Intended Audience

Learner
Educational Level
  • High School
  • Middle School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

MS-ESS2-3 Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, contintental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.

Clarification Statement: Examples of data include similarities of rock and fossil types on different continents, the shapes of the continents (including continental shelves), and the locations of ocean structures (such as ridges, fracture zones, and trenches).

Assessment Boundary: Paleomagnetic anomalies in oceanic and continental crust are not assessed.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students will create a model of sedimentary rocks based in the sea floor and based on this evidence draw a sea-level curve. This activity does not address the distribution of fossils, even though its focus is on sedimentary rocks and sedimentary rocks often contain fossils. Including an activity using index fossils as shown in a stratigraphic column and highlighting the fossils found at each layer can also represent the age of the layers. http://www.earth-science-activities.co.uk/index_htm_files/10-%20Building%20a%20stratigraphic%20column.pdf A world map can be included with continental outlines and showing an age progression (past to present).http://geology.com/pangea.htm This activity focuses on the Paleozoic Era, and other samples can be included with more recent eras corresponding to locations on a continental map, this would address the relationships of the rock strata to the age of the surrounding continent.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students will create a model of a sedimentary stratigraphic column and analyze and interpret the model. A diagram and maps they are given will also help students ”recreate” the scenario with other materials, such as beads The phenomena addressed here is what sequences of sedimentary rocks tell us about how sea level has changed.Students analyze and interpret diagrams/maps to gain evidence for the phenomena of sea-level change. They will then “recreate” the sequences of sedimenatry rocks using other materials, such as beads, based on the evidence.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Maps of ancient (Paleozoic) land and water patterns are given as data in this activity. Students make observations and interpret the data by creating simulated rock formations and looking at patterns they can observe. In order to more fully meet the disciplinary core idea, more connections to these rock formations must be made to fossil distribution and to plate movement over time.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students look for patterns in the sediments and the way they are deposited in relation to the location; stream, beach, shelf etc. A prediction will be made by interpreting these patterns to determine sea level changes. Students will look at patterns in Paleozoic sediment maps and draw sea-level curves.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson contains elements of three- dimensional learning. Students will create a model and analyze and interpret the diagram/maps they are given and ”recreate” the scenario with other materials, such as beads The phenomena addressed here is, how sequences of sedimentary rocks tell us about how sea level has changed. Students will analyze and interpret data based on the history of the formations. Students will see patterns in the deposition of sediment throughout this activity. The distribution of rock and seafloor structures is addressed, but a more complex correlation between the distribution of these Paleozoic sediment maps and continental movement must be addressed by using index fossils as shown in a stratigraphic column and highlighting the fossils found at each layer can also represent the age of the layers. A world map can be included with continental outlines and showing an age progression (past to present). This activity focuses on the Paleozoic Era, and other samples can be included with more recent eras corresponding to locations on a continental map, this would address the relationships of the rock strata to the age of the surrounding continents.

  • Instructional Supports: There are clear instructions for the teacher on how to gather materials and to put the lab activity together, along with additional resources and maps from the Minnesota Geological survey. There are also suggestions as to how students can extend the lesson. This activity has several variations for a large class/small class/demonstration and can be confusing. The teacher will need to pick which variation they want to use and download the materials/instructions for that strand of activities based on the learners and objective of the class. The suggestions for differentiation are based on the age of the students. For students needing more structure and support I suggest they watch https://youtu.be/rc3da3-znK4 this video or videos on stratigraphic columns and Walther’s Law before they participate in the activity to have a visual in thier minds and maybe notes taken from the video.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: There are few suggestions as to how to monitor student progress. Checkpoints could include: were they able to draw a sea-level curve, were they able to interpret the sea-level history for the “mystery” basin, were they able indicate the correct sea level movement on the handout. A rubric should be developed that assesses the questions above and the analysis and interpretation of the data the students gathered.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resources has no technological aspect however the information is accessed from a website.