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The Dynamic Earth: A Course for Educators

How and why is the Earth constantly changing? How do scientists reconstruct events in Earth's geologic history? This course explores the origin and evolution of the Earth and provides resources for educational use.


Eligible for

Statement of Accomplishment

Course at a Glance

About the Course

The AMNH course The Dynamic Earth: A Course for Educators provides students with an overview of the origin and evolution of the Earth. Informed by the recently released Next Generation Science Standards, this course examines geological time scales, radiometric dating, and how scientists “read the rocks.” We will explore dramatic changes in the Earth over the last 4 billion years, including how the evolution of life on Earth has affected its atmosphere. In addition to looking at geology on a global scale, participants will take to their own backyards to explore and share their local geologic history. Course participants will bring their understanding of the dynamic Earth - along with content resources, discussion questions, and assignments - into their own teaching.

Course Syllabus

This course will focus on:

  • an overview of the history of the Earth and geologic time scales
  • an exploration of how scientists “read the rocks”
  • evolution of the Earth’s ocean basins, mountains, and continents
  • interactions of the Earth's major systems 
  • implementing what you’ve learned in your classroom

Recommended Background

There are no prerequisites for this course. An introductory background in Earth science or geology may be helpful but is not required.

Course Format

This four-week class is informed by the recently released Next Generation Science Standards and will be comprised of weekly lecture videos, articles, discussion questions, and a culminating assignment that will help you integrate what you've learned into your classroom curriculum.


What resources will I need for this class?
This class contains all the readings you will need. Any additional materials will be freely available online. 

Who should enroll in this course?
All interested educators are welcome to enroll in this course. The course content focuses primarily on Earth science at the secondary school level (grades 7-12 in the United States).

What are the prerequisites for the class?
There are no prerequisites for this course. An introductory background in Earth science or geology may be helpful but is not required.

What opportunities are available at the American Museum of Natural History as part of this class?
The Museum, located in New York City, offers many rich and diverse opportunities to explore Earth science, including, in particular, the Hall of Planet Earth. For more information, please visit