Model NGSS Lessons: 4th - 5th Grade

Document Type

Teacher Resource

Grade Level

Grade Level: 4th Grade

Publication Date


Background Information

Sedimentary rock layers are found in places all around the world. They can provide useful clues to the past. Sometimes a waterway cuts through the layers revealing a geologic record of the past. In other locations, scientists must dig trenches to see the layers. As the lower layers generally formed first, they are the oldest. Fossils within the rocks may allow some layers to be dated with accuracy. In other locations, clues may be sparse.

Searching for patterns in sedimentary rock layers is a bit like solving a puzzle. The picture emerges slowly, and the picture may tell a story. Landscapes are never static; they change over time. Continents move, landforms are raised and lowered, ocean shorelines advance and retreat. Biomes and their living organisms shift with the land.

Performance Expectations

4-ESS1-1 Earth’s Place in the Universe

Identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time. universe



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.