Describe Earth processes that we can observe and measure today (e.g., rate of sedimentation, movement of crustal plates, and changes in composition of the atmosphere) that provide clues to Earth’s past.
Earth and Space Science
In prior grades students learned that fossils provide evidence of environmental conditions that existed long ago. In grades 6-8 students learn a few of the methods that have made it possible to uncover the history of our planet. This history includes both slow, gradual changes and rapid, catastrophic events, such as an asteroid or comet striking the Earth. It is possible to read a great deal of that history from rocks, including layers of sedimentary rock, some of which contain fossils. Understanding Earth’s history is a valuable complement to the study of biological evolution.
Our understanding of Earth history is based on the assumption that processes we see today are similar to those that occurred in the past.