Teacher’s Page

Geologic Time Period Movie Trailer

Tom Clayton, March 2016

Essential Questions

What are some of the major events that have taken place during time periods?

How has the Earth changed life, and how has life changed the Earth?

What is the evidence that the geologic time scale is based upon?


Earth and life have gone through a lot over the last 4.6 billion years, and movies have been made about the Jurassic period, as well as the Ice Ages. What about all of the other time periods? Why have production companies not made a blockbuster about the Permian period, when nearly all life went extinct? In this WebQuest students will become familiar with the geologic timescale, as well as the events/lifeforms of a particular time period. Students will work in teams of 4 to develop a movie trailer and a sales pitch to entice productions companies to produce a full length film. During this task student will need to research, share information, create a movie trailer, and develop a short presentation to potential investors.


Performance Objectives

Students will become experts in the life, plants and events of a particular time period.

Students will create and produce a movie trailer about a potential full length film about a specific geologic time period.

Students will compare and contrast life/events of particular time period.


Concept Map of the WebQuest


Scaffolding Knowledge

Tips on Scaffolding Verbs: http://www.teach-nology.com/worksheets/time_savers/bloom/

Level Activities
  • Students will describe the lifeforms, plants, and events of a particular time period.
  • Students will become experts in a particular field and report their findings to their group.
  • Students will use the information to prepare a movie trailer and sales-pitch that will show the life, plants and events of the time period.
  • Students will compare and contrast the specifics of their time periods to another time period by meeting with another expert from a different time period.
  • Students will decide what led to the success/or demise of the lifeforms as well as plants of the time period.
  • Students will compose and perform a sales-pitch that will convince a production company that their time period is the most interesting based upon the life, plants and events of the period.

Mind Styles

Concrete Sequential
  • Gathering facts about the time periods.
  • Completing the guided research sheets.
  • Working in groups that divide the work.
  • Using the rubric to guide their final product.
Concrete Random
  • Becoming an expert in a specific area independently.
  • Competing with other groups to develop the most interesting trailer.
Abstract Random
  • Participating in group work.
  • Listening to the other experts share their information
  • The freedom to be very creative in the making of the movie trailer and sales pitch
Abstract Sequential
  • Meeting with other experts to learn new information
  • The ability to work alone on becoming an expert in a specific area.
  • The ability to take risk in the creation of the movie trailer and sales-pitch

Standards Addressed

5.1.8.D.1 Engage in multiple forms of discussion in order to process, make sense of, and learn from others’ ideas, observations, and experiences.

5.3.8.D.3 Characteristics of organisms are influenced by heredity and/or their environment.

5.3.8.E.2 Compare the anatomical structures of a living species with fossil records to derive a line of descent.

5.4.8.B.1 Today’s planet is very different than early Earth. Evidence for one-celled forms of life (bacteria) extends back more than 3.5 billion years.

Standard 8.1 Educational Technology:

Strand A: Technology Operations and Concepts: Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations.

Strand B: Creativity and Innovation: Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge and develop innovative products and process using technology.

Teacher Preparation

Key Terms

Geologic Time Scale A timeline that correlates events and lifeforms based upon fossils and the rock record.
Eons  The largest span of time within the geologic time scale
Eras . A smaller span of time within the geologic time scale, typically determined by widespread changes in life (extinction events)
Periods    A time span smaller than era within the geologic time scale. Periods are defined by changes in particular species as well smaller extinction events
Organic Evolution  The change of species over geologic time

Alternate Outline – Accommodations


  • Students who are below grade level should receive a guided research sheet that takes on more of a skeleton form as well as a focused movie outline sheet.  Students who are below grade level should also receive pacing and checkpoints throughout the quest.
  • This Webquest is designed for a 1:1 pad classroom, but teachers can also use computer labs and the free online movie creator Showbox.
  • English Language Learners will need mini-background vocabulary lessons. ELL student would also benefit from pairing with an English speaking buddy, the ability to write in their native language, as well as use a translator. The teacher should also modify the rubric as deemed appropriate.

Suggested Follow-Up

If students need more practice on skills, use the following websites and videos.