Snack Tectonics Lab

Snack Tectonics Lab
Introduction: As you know, the three main types of plate boundaries are:
Convergent Boundaries -- plates come together.  
Divergent Boundaries -- plates move apart from each other.  
Transform Boundaries --two plates slip sideways past each other headed in opposite directions.
As you have also learned, there are two types of crust, the denser, younger, thinner oceanic crust and the older,
less dense, thicker continental crust. Exactly what happens at each boundary is affected by the type of crust the
plates in question are composed of.
Purpose: In this lab, you will use edible materials to model several types of boundaries. The parts of the model
represent the real world as follows:
frosting = asthenosphere (the plastic, or moldable, layer on which Earth's plates ride)
fruit roll up = thin, dense oceanic crust
graham crackers - thick, less dense continental crust
Two squares of graham cracker
One fruit roll-up, cut in half
Cup of water
Sheet of waxed paper
Plastic knife
1. Use the wax paper as a
“place mat” to protect the
2. Break the cracker in
3. Unroll your fruit roll up
and cut it into 2 small
pieces about the same
size as the cracker
4. When you get your
frosting, follow directions
on the picture to the left.
Notice how the frosting is exposed and pushed up where the plates are separated? This represents magma
coming to the surface where real plates are moving apart at divergent plate boundaries. Most divergent plate
boundaries are located within oceanic crust, where the upwelling magma results in sea-floor spreading and
forms a mid-ocean ridge. When plates begin to pull apart at continents, rift valleys are made, like the Great
Rift Valley in Africa, which could become the bottom of the sea floor if the plates continue to pull apart.
 Draw and label a side view of your model in your Journal.
 Draw and label a side view of this model in your Journal.
Notice how the wet edges crumple? This is how mountains are made at convergent plate boundaries! When
continents move towards each other there is nowhere for the rock to go but up! Draw and label a side view of
this model in your Journal.
 Draw and label a side view of this model in your Journal.
CLEAN UP: Throw away the wax paper and wash off your plastic knife and place it on the tray
near the sink.
Wipe up any mess on your table.
Conclusion: Write a summary of the different
types of tectonic plate boundaries in your Journal.
Final step: As you write your conclusion, you may eat all remaining model materials
Study collections