The blog En Tequila es Verdad posted an interesting article about teaching geoscience religious students. Ron Schott noted that taking a slow approach, introducing the scientific method, evidence, and how science is made, encourages them to critically think about the evidence and engage in the class. It's a great article, go check it out.
This article reminded me of a time in the 4th grade. Our class was learning about dinosaurs. I was talking with a friend about how dinosaurs were millions of years old. He replied with "but the Earth is only 6,000 years old." I can't remember exactly what my response was, but I do remember giving him a quizzical look. Being in elementary school, we weren't given a proof of how we know the age of the Earth. I accepted it on faith that the teacher was telling the truth, and probably on the fact that dinosaurs and rocks are really old and really COOL (thanks, Dad and ,uhh, probably Bill Nye, too). Hmm, now that I think about it, I wonder how much this plays into my rejecting religion from an early age? Eh, that thread is a quite off topic for this blog. How then can we give young kids the lines of evidence when teaching geoscience, or science for that matter?
What evidence can we present to show how we know rocks are really old? Show pictures of zircons? Well, then you're talking about radioactive decay and isotopes, way too advanced for elementary school. Maybe show a sedimentary rock and talk about how it formed into it's present form? Any elementary teachers out there with experiences/insight they'd like to share?