Earth Science Lesson Plans 
The Cenozoic Era

Notes for the leader/teacher for The Earth Science Lesson Plans The Cenozoic Era:

The Cenozoic Era is the time in which we currently live, although the time of human existence is so recent that it can’t accurately assume a line thick enough to be represented on the chart. Focus for the era should be on the new life form: mammals. The introduction of ice ages will lead to animal and primate migration around the new land masses on the globe. Dialogue for the lesson is included in bold and italics. Things you would do during the lesson are in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Prerequisites for The Earth Science Lesson Plans The Cenozoic Era: Intro to Clock of Eras; Hadean, Archaean, Proterozoic and Paleozoic presentations

Materials for The Earth Science Lesson Plans The Cenozoic Era:

  • A clock of eras chart.Click here for a printable version.
  • A blank or non-colored chart Click here for a printable version
  • Loose pieces for each of the Eras (You’ll use all the sections in this lesson: The Hadean, Archaean, the Proterozoic, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic.)
  • (Optional: A thin Red Line or String to represent about 7 seconds on the clock: the time of Humans)
  • (Optional: A large, black poster board or construction paper to use as a background.)
  • Templates for student follow-up
  • Research suggestion cards or papers to guide independent investigation

Presentation of The Earth Science Lesson Plans The Cenozoic Era:

  1. Review of all previous Eras. (SHOW BLANK CLOCK OF ERAS AND LAY DOWN EACH PERIOD AS YOU REVIEW THE NAMES.) We have learned about millions of years in our Earth’s development. We started with the Hadean Time when the Earth’s crust was formed. We continued with the Archaean Time when the oceans were formed and cells developed in the oceans. Next came the Proterozoic Era when the cyanobacteria worked with the sun to produce and oxygen-rich atmosphere and the foriminiferans cleaned the oceans of the deadly salts. After all this preparation, life exploded in the next Era: the Paleozoic Era. All the life of this era was in the ancient seas. At the end of this era was a mass extinction in which 95% of all life forms were wiped out. The Mesozoic Era came next. Life developed in very different conditions from the Paleozoic. There was more land and less sea, so animal and plant species developed that could live without being surrounded by water. This was the time when giant reptiles ruled the Earth. (SHOW THE PIECE FOR THE CENOZOIC ERA.) This is the last era on our clock. It began 65 million years ago, but is the Era in which we live. It is colored green to represent the new life that began to rule the Earth: the mammals. Its name is the Cenozoic Era. There were other forms of new life that developed on the Earth at this time, too. Flowering plants, insects, fish with bones and modern birds all developed during the Cenozoic Era. Now it was the mammals that developed to include huge, powerful species that could respond to the new conditions on the planet. The land masses were breaking up and moving into new locations on the globe. Great Ice Ages covered the land with ice and caused the sea to recede. The mammals were warm-blooded, so they had to develop new survival strategies. One of these was migration-moving around on the land in search of food. It is only in very recent time, about 7 seconds on our clock, that human species began to exist. Humans did not signal a new era, only the most recent mammal development. This brings us to the final chapter of our Clock of Eras-to the present time. Since our clock represents only time that has passed, it is finished now. Only those who will look back on our time will know how the clock continued.

Follow up for The Earth Science Lesson Plans The Cenozoic Era:

  • Have the children work with the blank clock of ers chart and the loose pieces to create their own chart.
  • Have the children create their own clock of eras chart by coloring a blank chart and filling in the information. Have a complete chart available for their reference.
Need to review the lesson before Earth Science Lesson Plans The Cenozoic?

For more information on the Clock Of Eras click here.

Geologic Time

Geologic Time Line

Geologic Time Periods

Clock of Eras

Cenozoic Era

Mesozoic Era

Paleozoic Era

Proterozoic Era

Archaean Time

Hadean Time



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