Field Trips

Trail of Time (2.5-hour Geology Program): High School

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Grade Level:
High School: Ninth Grade through Twelfth Grade
State Standards:
Arizona State Science Standards:



Over billions of years, geologic processes such as deposition, uplift and erosion have shaped the surface of planet Earth. By studying the geology of Grand Canyon, and walking the Geologic Trail of Time (ToT), students will gain a better understanding of geologic principles and processes at work on Earth.

Grade Level:

High School


2 hours and 30 minutes (9:00 - 11:30 am or 1:00 - 3:30 pm)

Walking Distance:

Approximately 1.5 miles (on paved trails)


Geology, Science


Students will be able to:

  • Describe the basic elements of the program
  • Describe the required safety precautions to observe during the program
  • Describe what is meant by the term, “absolute dating”.
  • Explain how absolute dating is different from relative dating.
  • Explain how absolute dating and relative dating combine to strengthen our understanding of the ages of rocks and geologic events.
  • Calculate the amount of compression of a rock due to the processes of plate tectonics.
  • Interpret what this means in terms of understanding mountain building (orogenesis).
  • Explain how the processes of compression and plate tectonics relate to the rock cycle.

Arizona State Science Standards:


  • SCHS-S1C2-PO5: Record observations, notes, sketches, questions, and ideas using tools such as journals, charts, graphs, and computers.
  • SCHS-S6C1-PO1: Identify ways materials are cycled within the Earth system (ie. Carbon cycle, water cycle, rock cycle). 
  • SCHS-S6C1-PO2: Demonstrate how dynamic processes such as weathering, erosion, sedimentation, metamorphism, and orogenesis relate to redistribution of materials within the Earth system.
  • SCHS-S6C1-PO3: Explain how the rock cycle is related to plate tectonics.
  • SCHS-S6C3-PO4: Interpret a geologic time scale.
  • SCHS-S6C3-PO5: Distinguish between relative and absolute geologic dating techniques.
  • SCHS-S6C3-PO: Sequence major events in the Earth’s evolution using relative and absolute dating data.

Last updated: March 23, 2021