Category Archives: Geology

Across the Ages

We’ve just begun the great lesson of the Coming of Man with the younger guys.  This impressionistic lesson calls the children to recognize the uniqueness of man.  It speaks about the great gifts that man brings to the whole earth.  The chart sets the stage for the next drama in the story of the unfolding of the universe.

It also calls to the child the attention to the tiny amount of time that we have written records.  The upper elementary children were much more interested in the transition in prehistoric to historic.  We wondered what the first words were – numbers, pictographic images.


We’ve spent some time now researching the skull development and progression as well as tool advancements.  Today we are going to put them on a timeline and see how they overlap.  Friday we’ll bring maps into the game.


Meanwhile there is tons of discussion about early man because JV is spending lots of time reading, writing, and working with archaeological materials.

Here are a few of his working shots:

JV washing a piece of "his" pot.

It is a lot of washing.

A piece of his pottery cleaned.


Other artifacts including petrified wood.



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Filed under "Coming of Man", BW, DW, Geography and World Studies, Geology, Going outs (Field Trips), JV, MMcC, Rock classification, Science, Students

Part 2 of our Field Trip

We stopped in Columbia on the way home to visit USC’s archaeology lab.  Here are some shots in the lab.  Josiah is working on an independent study project and I’m sworn to secrecy.

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Filed under AV, Geology, Going outs (Field Trips), JV, MMcC, Science, Students

The Shop is Closed Next Week

This year instead of going to Rivercane Rendezvous (and here) we are heading for a week at the Kolb Site.  It is one of the few sites in America that encourages non-degreed folks to come and dig like the pros. After our visit last year, we were invited to come on back.  LR is taking a week off of “regular school” – although his teachers are sending along work.  I imagine he will be doing his figures and letters Abe Lincoln style – by our firelight.  We are staying at the Little Pee Dee State Park and like the dig site, it is in the middle of no where.  So, I’m not even bothering to take the computer. I’ll take the camera to document the Erd Kinder child’s interaction with the professional life.

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Filed under "Coming of Man", American History, AV, Camping/Basic Survival Skills, Geography and World Studies, Geology, Going outs (Field Trips), JV, LR, Practical Life - Elementary, Students

Goings Out and Getting Busy – Part I

We are so blessed to live in a college town.  In the next month and a bit, there are a lot of lectures that we are going to go absorb.  Darwin Week is one of our favorite series of lectures.  Last year it brought us the  Blood Sucking Flies lecture and the year before an amazing talk about Neanderthals.  Since we are located in “The Holy City,” it is appropriate that the Darwin Week include a discussion of faiths and the coming of the universe.  This year the them is “Does Evolution Lead to Evil.”

The Evolution of Complex Animals: New insights into some very old problems in evolution.  

Monday, February 6 at 4:00 p.m.   CofC School of Sciences and Math Auditorium          Dr. Athula Wikramanayake

Over 500 million years ago, the Cambrian “explosion” yielded a remarkable diversity of animals with bilateral symmetry — animals which have evolved to constitute 95% of the world’s fauna today. Did such complex “bilaterian” animals evolve from simple, non-bilaterian organisms?

Need for Speed:  The Evolution of Decision-Making in a Rapidly Changing World

Tuesday, February 7 at 4:00 p.m.    CofC School of Sciences and Math Auditorium          Dr. Catalin V. Buhusi

Despite our sophisticated cognitive abilities, humans are notoriously bad at making rational decisions. Similar biases, aversions, and reference-dependent choices have been reported in other species, suggesting that evolution has shaped our ancestors’ brain to make decisions in a different kind of environment. How can we reconcile the apparent necessity of rapid decision-making with the need for building a long-term sustainable society for future generations?

THE 2012 TALKS ON TAP DARWIN WEEK EVENT:  Does Evolution Lead to Evil?  Two Christian Perspectives

Tuesday, February 7 at 7:30 p.m.      Second Presbyterian Church    Dr. Brad Harrub and Rev. James B. Miller

Critics have claimed that regardless of whether evolution is true or not, to believe that humanity had its origins in earlier non-human species leads to racism, eugenics, euthanasia, abortion, and youth violence. Join Rev. Jim Miller and Dr. Brad Harrub for a fascinating conversation on the potential ethical implications of evolutionary theory, with a robust question and answer time to follow.

Astrobiology:     The Search for Life in the Universe

Wednesday, February 8 at 4:00 p.m.     CofC School of Sciences and Math Auditorium       Dr. Luke S. Sollitt

Are we alone in the Universe? Until recently, this fundamental question about humanity’s place in the cosmos was the province of philosophy or science fiction. The nascent science of Astrobiology seeks to turn science fiction into science research, and answer it once and for all. Dr. Sollitt will discuss three main research areas in this new field: the search for habitable planets elsewhere in the universe, the study of so-called “extremophiles” on Earth, and the search for habitable zones and life elsewhere in the Solar System.

The Ice-Age Dispersal of Humans to the Americas: Do Stones, Bones, and Genes Tell the Same Story?

Thursday, February 9 at 4:00 p.m.          CofC School of Sciences and Math Auditorium        Dr. Ted Goebel

When did modern humans colonize the Americas? From where did they come and what routes did they take? These questions have puzzled scientists for decades, but until recently answers have proven difficult to find. New techniques of molecular genetic analysis, and a reinvigorated search for early archaeological sites across the western hemisphere, recently have led to some astounding results.



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Filed under "Coming of Man", Astronomy, Biology, Geography and World Studies, Geology, Going outs (Field Trips), Physics, Science

BW begins the Timeline of Life

BW has completed the Clock of Eras and the Claremont timeline. Often BW has so many ideas that he needs a transitional time to let his ideas settle and deeper concepts to emerge.  Giving him the space he needs is critical to his understanding lessons.  The space has been created by the Claremont lessons – prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, the process of DNA replication, and anaerobic and aerobic respiration.

BW discovered some fossils in one of our rocks that serve as weight to hold down large unruly poster papers.  He spent a few moments at the beginning grouping the rocks by their type – igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary.  I also pulled down a fern to hold the spot where plants begin their march.

He sorted out the tickets by titles, invertebrates, fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and what the earth was doing (like ice ages).  He was very methodical and careful to place the items exactly where they belonged.  It was such a pleasure to watch his care and attention for more than 45 minutes.




Filed under Biology, BW, Geography and World Studies, Geology, Science

I dedicated this year…

This morning BW arrived and began working on his latest project.  He has become fixated on dinosaurs. This has led us to the impressionistic lesson of the Clock of Eras.  We’ve looked at the clock a couple of ways.

The first was for BW to find an object that was a large enough circle to match the clock poster.  He traced it and we worked out folding it fractionally to add up to the 12 “hours” on the clock.  Each wedge was cut out and methodically/frantically BW shaded the colors of the impressionistic chart onto each wedge.  The last few wedges involved using a protractor to measure and transfer the angles onto the wedges so that the sizes would be correct.  This project was done over three days and represents one of his best pieces completed with minimal adult guidance.


BW's Liner Clock of Eras with his 12 hour measurement (8am to 8 pm) and Gary Davidson's tickets photocopied because BW's hands still don't love tons of writing.

The second way was to measure colored yarn pieces and tie them together in the appropriate length to see the scale linearly. In the same process, BW and his mom measured out the back door and across the back yard to the beginning of time. This helped him realize that the creation of the universe and the creation of the crusted Earth are two vastly different things.


BW's own Clock of Eras

The third way was to set the timer beginning at 8:00 for the appropriate amount of time for each of the Eons and Epochs.  As the day progressed the timer would go off . They used their timer in the Ipad and set the buzzer to the sound they though illustrated the period.

BW has been doing his writing by taking a particular dinosaur and making an outline.

I.  Reproduce.

A.  Oviperious

All the way through Roman numeral number four. After we correct for spelling, he dictates sentences to me that I type and then print out and staple with his outline.  He does several a day.  He is loving the study of the march of life through time.

He declared, as he finished his Clock of Eras glue down,  “This is an appropriate work because I’ve dedicated this year to the study of time!”


Filed under Biology, BW, Geography and World Studies, Geology, God With No Hands, Science

Clock of Eras

BW and DW working out a linear version of the Clock of Eras

The Clock of Eras is one of the Classic Montessori Lesson.  As all of the history lessons, it covers multiple disciplines – history, science, and math.

The presentation is given after the long black stip.   It is a link between the God With No Hands lesson and the Time Line of Life Lesson. It is a different way of looking at time as well.  It is a chart.  Don’t give into the temptation to make it into a puzzle or a deep scientific lesson.  It is  there to help children think about how long the earth had been around been around before humans.

Also the idea that everything has a job to do for the glory of God.  All the creatures came before to help make the world ready for humans and their survival.

We need to define a few terms:

  • Eon (and super-eon) is the largest length of geological time.  There are 4 eons. Eons are divided into eras.  Haden, Archean, Proterozoic, and Phanerozoic
  • Era is a period of geological time.  There are 12 eras in geological time.  These times are divided into periods.
  • Periods are the smallest measure of geological time that is documented on the Clock of Eras.
Again this is an IMPRESSIONISTIC Lesson.  It is meant to be brief and not over detailed.  Often people add and add to the lesson.  You can loose the main impressions in the details.  Less is more in this lesson.
Begin with a question:  
I wonder how long off all of the creating took?
Remind the children of the long black strip. Remind them of the little amount of time man has been around in comparison to the length of time that God ordained for the earth.
Today we are going to look  at time in a different way.  We are going to think of it as if it were the face of the clock.  Would you like to think of time like the hours and minutes of a clock?
We are going to look at all the time that the Earth has had a crust as like the 12 hours on the face of the clock.  The clock on the wall has the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.12.  Now look at our chart it has the same 12 numbers.
(Take your time here.  This requires younger children to process a good bit.)
Point at the black section.
We’ll look at this first time period it is called an EON.  Remember the God With No Hands lesson?  We talked about how hot the Earth was when she was created and how it took a very, very long time to cool off?  This section represents the last bit of that cooling – when the Earth began to look like a shriveled apple.
Point at the yellow section.
In the time between 4 and 10 is the EON that represents the beginnings of a world we would recognize.  Between 4 and 5 on the clock is when the rains  began to come down and cleanse the sky so an atmosphere could form.  The rains were also washing the Earth.  They washed salts into the seas.  Many scientists also believe that this is when God created the first life – like a little drop of  jelly.
Point to the clock and the time between 5 and 6
After the little blob of jelly, other creatures were created.  They floated in the seas.  They ate the salts and the abundant minerals that were in the seas. They had a great work.  These tiny creatures’ had the job of making the seas ready for larger creatures.  They did their jobs perfectly and the sea floors are full of their skeletons to this day.  This time between 4 and 10 is called the Archaic Eon.  These words are Greek and Archaic means “very old.”
Point to the blue, brown, green and red areas of the clock.
Things began to move very quickly and all of these together are one EON.  To help us understand the changes we are going to divide the EONs into ERAs.
Point to the blue area.
After all these creatures did the work that God gave them, God created other creatures.  Many of these creatures began to live not only in the water but also on the land – they are called amphibians. This happened a very long time ago. We call this time Paleozoic Era.  paleo – old and zoic – animals.  So what was this the time of?
Point to the brown area.
Then after the amphibians began to become more comfortable on land this era began.  Geologists call this time the Mesozoic Era.  Meso – middle and what did zoic mean?   This is the time that the great reptiles and giant grasses and ferns lived.  The reptiles could stay on land and were able to go where no animals had ever been before.
Now let’s look at the clock again.  There isn’t much time left.  How much do you think is left on our 12 hour clock?
Point to the green section.
After the Mesozoic Era, we arrive to the Cenozoic Era.  Ceno means recent and zoic means???  The recent plants and animals that came during this time are the same ones we would recognize. The great reptiles all died out in this time. God created the birds and animals we would know.  All this time has passed and there are no humans.  There is only a little bit of time left. Something very special happens at the very end of the Cenozoic Era.  This last little bit is a section of the Era is red.  It is a period (a smaller piece of of the Era).
Point to the Red thread.
It is a special time – this red time.  Finally we have come to the time when humans were made.  This time period  is called the Neozoic Period  – neo means new.  All this time – all these hours and we have been here just this little sliver of time.

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Filed under "Coming of Man", BW, DW, Geography and World Studies, Geology, Physics, Science