Everything you need to understand or teach Centennial by James A. Michener.
The story begins with Dr. Lewis Vernor, a professor at a "small college in Georgia" being called on to verify facts of a story written by Carol Endermann. The story then shifts to extensive descriptions of the land, mostly along the South Platte River, and the Colorado town of Centennial, including how the mountain ranges and plains came into being. There are then descriptions of the earliest animals of the region.
Centennial Lesson Plans contain 110 pages of teaching material, including: