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Lesson summary for:
What Came First?


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Students sequence actual events in the history of life on Earth and place them on a large timeline.

UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:

50-60 minutes

Teaching tips:
We recommend preceding this activity with "Sequencing Time" - an activity in which students assign relative and numerical times to events in their lives to understand how scientists developed the Geologic Time Scale.

Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • Through billions of years of evolution, life forms have continued to diversify in a branching pattern, from single-celled ancestors to the diversity of life on Earth today.

  • Scientists use fossils to learn about past life. (LS4.A, ESS1.C)

Teacher background:

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