Tectonic plates


What Drives Plate Tectonics Worksheet

This downloadable resource looks at verifying the movement of tectonic plates.

The resources include a worksheet whereby students use various online resources to determine the speed of movement of tectonic plates across the surface of the Earth (a separate copy with example answers is also provided). A copy of the original article on which these worksheets are based is also provided to act as teacher notes for the activity.

Density of Lithosphere and Mantle Rocks Experiment

This downloadable resource involves an activity that investigates the densities of rocks.

The resources include a worksheet detailing an experiment to measure the densities of rock samples from the lithosphere and mantle to verify that 'slab pull' is the dominant force driving the movement of tectonic plates (a separate copy with example answers is also provided) along with teacher notes in the form of an original published article.

W.A.S.P. Year 9 Earth and Space Science

This online resource supports the teaching of Year 9 Earth and space science.

The resource is a teaching package that provides a range of hands-on student activities and teacher support materials to help with the teaching of the Year 9 Earth and Physical Sciences components of the Australian Curriculum.

The activities are organised into four topics:

Plate tectonics

This simulation of tectonic plate movement allows students to change the variables involved in the process and observe the impact of each change. This is a great opportunity to explore the controls and variables of the tectonic process with students in the context of this content descriptor. The simulation would also provide a good introductory lesson to the topic as students explore how plates move on the surface of the Earth, change the variables of temperature, composition, and the thickness of the plates and discover how to create new mountains, volcanoes and oceans.

Plate tectonics - ScienceWeb

This series of 5 lessons examines the Earth’s structure and the history behind the theory of tectonic plates. It also examines the impact of earthquakes and the role scientists play in detecting and preparing for such events. There are a number of small lesson packages which cover all aspects of the above content descriptor. Teachers can handpick the lessons or parts of the lessons which best suit their class and integrate these into their course. You will need access to a printer for some activities which include printable worksheets, flash cards etc.

Rock cycle modelled out of crayons

This online resource demonstrates how to simulate the rock cycle.

The resource is a step-by-step YouTube video guide for using wax crayons to demonstrate erosion and creation of sedimentary rocks as well as the link between sedimentary and metamorphic rock. 

This video is perhaps too long to show in class, but it does contain useful instructions for doing the simulation.

A worksheet is also available for students to use when replicating this task in class.

Activities for middle school plate tectonics

This online resource looks at plate tectonics. 

The resource is a Youtube video where the presenter shows 5 ways to model the layers of the earth, how tectonic plates move across the Earth’s surface, and the types of boundaries that exist between the plates. 

Included are a number of small demonstrations that cover all aspects of the above and teachers can handpick the activities which best suit their class and integrate these into their course. 

Plate tectonics - The Geological Society

This online resource has interactive maps of the tectonic plate boundaries and their features

These interactive maps of the Earth have optional layers showing tectonic plate boundaries, volcanoes, earthquakes, types of boundaries etc.

There is also a teacher site that has worksheets and past exam questions from the UK.  

Ideal as part of a web search, or to support a current unit of work.

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