Earth History and Fossil Concepts
Initial perceptual naive misconceptions (any age)
Beginning (preschool - 7 years)
- The Earth changes.
- Fossils are from long ago.
Intermediate (7 years - 11 years)
- The Earth has changed considerably over long periods of time.
- Plate tectonics is the movement of large slabs of Earth that floats on molten rock below it.
- Land formations - mountains, plateaus, river basins, deltas,
- Time is measured in 100,000's of years.
- Fossils are created from living organisms.
- The Earth's processes we see today, include erosion, movement of lithospheric plates, and changes in atmospheric composition, are similar to those that occurred in the past.
- Earth history is also influenced by occasional catastrophes, such as the impact of an asteroid or comet.
- Earth's atmosphere when just formed was mostly hydrogen (H2) and helium (He) which were very warm, moved so fast they escaped Earth's gravity, and eventually drifted off into space. Later Young Earth had volcanoes which released gases H2O (water) as steam, carbon dixoide (CO2), and ammonia (NH3). Carbon dioxide (CO2) dissolved in seawater. Simple bacteria thrived on sunlight and CO2 and some organisims produce oxygen (O2). Now, plants and animals thrive with an atmosphere balance. Plants use carbon dioxide (CO2) and make oxygen (O2). Animals use oxygen (O2) and release CO2. Burning creates CO2.
- Fossils provide important evidence of how life and environmental conditions have changed.