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Relative dating cannot establish absolute age, but it can establish whether one rock is older or younger than another.Relative dating requires an extensive knowledge of stratigraphic succession, a fancy term for the way rock strata are built up and changed by geologic processes.

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We'll even visit the Grand Canyon to solve the mystery of the Great Unconformity!Imagine that you're a geologist, studying the amazing rock formations of the Grand Canyon.Then in Phase 2 of the project, the teacher will provide the students with plastic bins each representing a different stratum of the archaeological site.Using the absolute dating principles provided in Phase 1 of the lesson, students will make decisions of which artifacts to send to a lab for absolute dating.In this activity, students begin a sequencing activity with familiar items — letters written on cards.

Once they are able to manipulate the cards into the correct sequence, they are asked to do a similar sequencing activity using fossil pictures printed on "rock layer" cards.They will excavate a hypothetical archaeological site from their school yard, make observations, and write an interpretation of the history of the area based on the evidence they will excavate.To facilitate the activity, the teacher will provide some introduction to absolute dating principles through the Half Life of M&M Worksheet.Your goal is to study the smooth, parallel layers of rock to learn how the land built up over geologic time.Now imagine that you come upon a formation like this: What do you think of it? How can you make any conclusions about rock layers that make such a crazy arrangement?Geologists establish the age of rocks in two ways: numerical dating and relative dating.