Lesson Plan

Life Time Line

grizzly bear on rock
Was this the last grizzly bear at Craters of the Moon? This photo was taken by explorer Robert Limbert in the 1920's.

Robert Limbert

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Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Fifth Grade
Biology: Animals, Paleontology
2 hours
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:


Students complete a time line showing the appearance and extinction of major types of fauna. Students also make forecasts into the future using time lines. (CLASSROOM ACTIVITY)


  • Students will be able to visualize the times of important evolutionary events in relation to geological and cultural history.
  • Students will be able to name some of the animals that became extinct at Craters of the Moon.
  • Students will use their imaginations to forecast future events and designate them on a time line.


Of the millions, perhaps billions, of species that have lived on Earth, only a tiny fraction are alive today. Many (but not all) scientists think that mass extinctions were caused by asteroids crashing into Earth. The age of dinosaurs passed 65 million years ago and growing evidence shows that it coincided with an asteroid that struck the Earth in what is now the West Indies. Other extinctions were caused by changing weather regimes and competition with species that occupied similar niches. In all cases, however, a species becomes extinct because it cannot adapt to changing circumstances.

The Earth is currently undergoing one of its most accelerated periods of extinction. Unlike all other known extinction phases, a single species, humans, is responsible. Species which are not able to adapt to human-caused changes are becoming extinct daily.

Perhaps if we become more knowledgeable about our evolutionary history, our concern for the species with which we share the Earth will grow.

See "Additional Resources" below for more information on the ecology of Craters of the Moon.

From the Teacher's Guide to Craters of the Moon.


  • Adding machine tape (3 or 4 inches wide by about 100 feet).
  • Pencils, pens, crayons.
  • String or yarn.
  • Use of a large indoor wall while your class is studying about Craters of the Moon.
  • Several picture books on prehistoric life.



Additional Resources

Ecology of Craters of the Moon



Last updated: December 13, 2017