This interesting lesson introduces students to plate tectonics. Most students are fascinated when they learn the continents are always drifting, and have done so for millions of years. Understanding the concepts related to this movement is more important than memorizing the names of the plates, except students should be able to identify the seven major plates that correspond closely with the continents.
Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction
- Ask students: How does the Earth move? Do you feel its movement as you walk outdoors each day?
- Allow for responses and discussion. Some students may discuss the rotation or orbit of the Earth. Guide the discussion to the movement of the continents around the world.
- Distribute Plate Tectonics content pages. Read and review the information with the students. Use the world map to animate the continents’ movement. Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
- Distribute Activity page. Read and review the instructions. The students may use the content pages for assistance. A few plates are not included. Use construction paper or plain white paper for students to mount the “puzzle”.
- Once all students have completed, review the work. Ask student volunteers to share their completed work.
- Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
- Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review the students’ responses. Allow students to share and discuss their predictions for the appearance of the Earth 250 million years from today.
- In closing, ask: What are advantages or disadvantages of the continents joined as one land mass?
- Allow for responses and discussion.
- Show one of the videos from the additional resources or other sources to close the lesson. The video should show a model of plate movement.
Common Core State Standards:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1.C, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.5, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.1, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.1.C, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.5, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.7, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.10
Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 2 class sessions
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