In this activity, students construct a modified geologic timescale using a roll of toilet paper. Each piece of the toilet roll represents a time period, and major New Zealand geologic events are to be marked on the paper.

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • understand that time periods in the geological history of the Earth are exceedingly long
  • recall that geologic time is for convenience sectioned into eons, eras, periods and epochs
  • put into the context of geologic time some of the changes that have shaped the evolution of the landscape of modern New Zealand
  • better understand the terms Oligocene and Miocene in relation to New Zealand limestones
  • realise that, in this analogy, the length of one toilet roll is representative of only 65 million years in the 4.6 billion year geologic record of the Earth.

Download the Word file (see link below) for:

  • introduction/background notes
  • what you need
  • what to do
  • discussion questions.
    Published 20 August 2012