# Unit Plan: Plate Tectonics

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```Matt Ekdahl
Ed 331
12-12-12
Unit Plan: Plate Tectonics
Overview:
This unit is a unit about Plate Tectonics. My unit plan would fit into a general Earth Science middle
school or high school class. My unit will cover the kinds of tectonic faults, along with the history of
tectonic movement and the results of tectonic movements.
Concepts:
The major concepts in my unit plan will be how faults work and the different types of faults including
subduction, convergent, divergent, transform, and oceanic faults. I will also teach the students about
various land forms that are created or influenced by tectonic faults such as volcanoes and mountain
ranges. Heat flow will also be taught and the convection process due to heat flow. There are three key
fault boundaries and one that is also very important. Convergent boundaries are where two plates come
together to create an uplift which is the cause for several mountain ranges throughout the world.
Divergent boundaries are boundaries that are moving away from each other and often cause sea floor
spreading as a result. Transform boundaries are where two boundaries are moving parallel to each
other. A subduction zone is where two plates meet each other and one plate is forced under another
plate and dissolved through the convection current process.
Long Term Unit Goal:
1. Students will be able to explain how plate tectonics accounts for the features and processes (sea
2. Students will be able to explain seafloor spreading, mid-ocean ridges, subduction zones, earthquakes
and volcanoes, mountain ranges through drawing diagrams and concept maps.
3. Students will be able to explain why tectonic plates move using the concept of heat flowing through
mantle convection by writing a written report on the three main points of convection currents.
4. Students will be able to describe the motion history of geologic features (e.g., plates, Hawaii) using
equations relating rate, time, and distance as well as explain virtual Pangaea animations.
Professional Content Standards:
E3.p3A Describe geologic, paleontological, and paleoclimatalogic evidence that indicates Africa and
South America were once part of a single continent.
E3.p3B Describe the three types of plate boundaries (divergent, convergent, and transform) and
geographic features associated with them (e.g., continental rifts and mid-ocean ridges, volcanic
and island arcs, deep-sea trenches, transform faults).
E3.p3C Describe the three major types of volcanoes (shield volcano, stratovolcano, and cinder cones)
and their relationship to the Ring of Fire.
E3.3A Explain how plate tectonics accounts for the features and processes (sea floor spreading, midocean ridges, subduction zones, earthquakes and volcanoes, mountain ranges) that occur on or
near the Earth’s surface.
E3.3B Explain why tectonic plates move using the concept of heat flowing through mantle convection,
coupled with the cooling and sinking of aging ocean plates that result from their increased
density.
E3.3C Describe the motion history of geologic features (e.g., plates, Hawaii) using equations relating
rate, time, and distance.
E3.3d Distinguish plate boundaries by the pattern of depth and magnitude of earthquakes.
E3.r3e Predict the temperature distribution in the lithosphere as a function of distance from the midocean ridge and how it relates to ocean depth. (recommended)
E3.r3f Describe how the direction and rate of movement for the North American plate has affected the
local climate over the last 600 million years. (recommended)
E3.4A Use the distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes to locate and determine the types of plate
boundaries.
E3.4B Describe how the sizes of earthquakes and volcanoes are measured or characterized.
E3.4C Describe the effects of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on humans.
E3.4d Explain how the chemical composition of magmas relates to plate tectonics and affects the
geometry, structure, and explosivity of volcanoes.
E3.4e Explain how volcanoes change the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and other Earth systems.
E3.4f Explain why fences are offset after an earthquake, using the elastic rebound theory.
Day 1
Learning Objectives:
1. Students will be able to Identify the four different boundaries and be able to explain the differences
of each boundary through sketching and completing a worksheet.
2. Students will be able to explain the similarities and differences of Convergent and Divergent plate
boundaries by writing a response to a reflection question.
Anticipatory Set:
As students walk into the classroom I will ask them to turn in their homework from the previous day and
have a warm-up question on the board. Students will have five minutes to write down a response and
will be ready to share what they came up with. This question will show me their prior knowledge and get
them thinking about how plate tectonics work. The question will look similar to the following:
When thinking about how the continents have moved overtime, why do you think this happens? In a
couple of sentences write down your hypotheses or ideas as to why and how the continents move
overtime. Be prepared to share you answer.
Advanced Preparations:
The instructor will need to print out enough worksheets for his class as well as get the PowerPoint
loaded before class.
Equipment and Technology:
The instructor will need a PowerPoint system as well as a computer and projector.
Procedure-Lesson Development:
1. Students will write down a response to the anticipatory set and then discuss their answers as a class
with a teacher led discussion.
2. The Instructor will lead a short PowerPoint on the different types of fault as well as lead a guided
discussion on how the different boundaries work and how it affects the world.
3. Students will complete a worksheet and must sketch the different boundaries as well as write their
definition and real world examples of each boundary.
4. Students will perform an exit slip before leaving class.
Assessment:
Students will have to turn in an exit slip before leaving at the end of the class period. The instructor will
put a question on the board and the students will have to respond and turn in the piece of paper as they
leave the room. The question should look something like the following: (Formative)
We talked about the difference in the four different boundaries in class today. In a short response, tell
me the difference between a divergent and convergent boundary, and how a subduction zone is different
from the other two boundaries? When you are finished please place your paper on my desk as you leave
class.
Day 2
Learning Objectives:
1. Students will be able to identify seafloor spreading, mid-ocean ridges, and subduction zones based on
their characteristics and properties through drawing and creating concept maps of seafloor spreading
and the various characteristics around the world.
2. Students will be able to explain the cause of Mountain ranges through the collision of tectonic plates
through clay modeling.
Advanced Preparations:
The instructor will need to check the websites and PowerPoint to make sure they are still functional. The
instructor will also need to get three blocks of clay for each student. They will also need to print out the
concept map for the assessment.
Equipment and Technology:
The instructor will need internet access as well as a PowerPoint presentation system.
Anticipatory Set:
Students will be asked to turn in their boundary maps from the previous day and write a short response
to the warm up question given on the board. Students will have five minutes to write down a response
and then share with the rest of the class their ideas on the subject. The warm up question should look
something like the following:
In your own words, how do you think the plates are able to become larger over millions of years? How do
you think islands form overtime? In a few sentences brainstorm some hypotheses as to how these occur
and be ready to share with the class once everyone is finished.
Procedure- Lesson Development:
1. Students will discuss and share their warm up responses and come up with different ideas as to how
the ocean floor becomes larger overtime and how islands form.
2. There will be a lecture on seafloor spreading and how sea floor spreading occurs. I will also explain
how a mid ocean ridge is formed through sea floor maps online and other materials.
Lecture- http://www.mabryonline.org/blogs/davis/Sea%20Floor%20Spreading2.ppt
3. Students will grab two blocks of clay and compact them into thin sheets. Once the clay is put into thin
sheets the students should stack the clay onto each other and then push on each of the sides to press
the sides towards each other. This will create a model uplift and the students will cut the clay into two
halves to see how the layer inside have changed since uplifting.
3. Students will then finished the class drawing a concept map and labeling each section and if it’s
spreading area, oceanic trench, or mid ocean ridge
Assessment:
Students will be given a map of the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Pacific Ocean and be asked to draw in
and label the different features. Students will have to label the maps different sections and put where
the oceanic trenches, mid ocean ranges, and seafloor spreading are occurring at each area in the world
and turn it in for a grade. If students do not complete the activity by the time class ends, then it will
become homework and be turned in the next day at the beginning of class.
Day 3
Learning Objectives:
1. Students will be able to explain the effects of earthquakes and volcanoes have from plate tectonics
and explain why plate tectonics are directly related to earthquakes and volcanoes through
matching the various volcano and earthquake traits with tectonics.
2. Students will be able to explain how earthquakes occur through the elastic rebound theory.
3. Students will be able to identify and explain how mountain ranges are formed through boundary
collisions.
Advanced Preparations:
The instructor should preload the YouTube videos to make sure there will not be any buffering problems
and also check the PowerPoint to make sure there aren’t any slides that are malfunctioning.
Equipment and Technology:
The instructor will need YouTube access along with internet access to have the video clips work. The
instructor will also need a computer and projector as well.
Anticipatory Set:
Students will be asked to turn in the concept map they drew from the previous day and then will write
down a short response to the warm up question on the board. Students will be given five minutes to
respond to the question and then asked to share what they came up with. The warm up question should
look something like the following:
When there are different intensities of earthquakes it can tell scientists a number of things about the
environment and pressure build up in the area. In a couple of sentences, try to come up with an
explanation as to why there are different earthquake intensities and what an earthquake really is. Be
prepared to share your answers.
Procedure- Lesson Development:
1. Discuss student’s reaction to the warm up and have them explain their idea to the whole class.
2. Show YouTube short segments on how certain volcanoes erupt and a video segment on how the San
Francisco earthquake
San Francisco- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDQsL800V-A
Volcano- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0Zbj7S22zs
3. Have a class discussion about how elastic rebound theory works and how that represents how
earthquakes work.
4. Have a PowerPoint slide show on volcanoes and how they are affected by plate tectonics.
5. Students will have a matching activity where they will split up into groups and each group will have
different numbers and answers so they will have to find the correct answers with numbers and match
each section up.
Assessment:
For the Assessment I would be doing the matching activity where students have to match up the
answers with the proper number of the question. Each group table would get a set of numbers and
mixed up answers. Each table would have a different set of answers and numbers, so each table would
have to find each other and then write down their answers after matching up the numbers to answers.
At the end of the class period, students will turn in their worksheets to be graded. (Formative)
Day 4
Learning Objectives:
1. Students will be able to describe the motion history of geologic features (e.g., plates, Hawaii) using
equations relating rate, time, and distance.
Advanced Preparations:
The instructor should check the animation websites to be sure they are still in working condition and
have the groups already worked out before students walk into the classroom. Make sure the computers
are working for the students
Equipment and Technology:
The instructor will need enough computers for 30 students and internet connections for each computer.
Anticipatory Set:
Start the class off by telling students to turn in their worksheets from the matching activity from the
previous day. After students have turned in the worksheet, they should then find a partner on the other
side of the classroom and begin to work on the warm-up activity in their journal. The students will write
down their thoughts and ideas for five minutes and then they will share their ideas with the class. The
following question should look similar to the following:
Are there any similarities with the east coast of American and the Northwest part of Africa? In a couple
of sentences write down what you think the earth could of possibly looked like billions of years ago. Be
prepared to share your answers.
Procedure- Lesson Development:
1. Start off by discussing the warm up with the class and have students share their ideas of what the
earth’s land masses looked like. Students should share for five to ten minutes depending on how the
discussion goes.
2. Students will get into groups and look at a number of websites that show virtual animations of how
Pangaea drifted apart overtime
Pangaea animations-http://www.scotese.com/pangeanim.htm
3. The class will stay in their groups and browse a few online websites where students can see a virtual
reconstruction of the large land mass known as Pangaea.
4. The instructor will change gears and talk about the Hawaiian formation throughout history and how
the Hawaiian Islands were formed.
5. Students will come up with two facts about Pangaea and one lie and then as a class, we will go around
and try to figure out which one is the lie.
Assessment:
For the final part of the lesson, I will have students do a guess the fib exercise come up with three facts
and two have to be true with one being false. We will work on the facts for five to ten minutes and once
everyone is finished I will start at one end of the room and work my way throughout the class having
people read and try to get their classmates to guess the fib. (formative)
Day 5
Learning Objectives:
1. Students will be able to explain why tectonic plates move using the concept of heat flowing through
mantle convection by writing a short report on the three important steps in convection currents.
Advanced Preparations:
The instructor will need to load the YouTube video clip before class so he does not run into any buffering
issues during the class time. The instructor will also need to print out the handouts for each student in
the class.
Equipment and Technology:
The instructor will need access to YouTube and the internet along with a computer and a projector.
Anticipatory Set:
Students will come in and begin to write a response to the warm up question posted on the board. The
students will have five minutes to form a group of four and write down their thoughts on what
convection means to them. The question should look something like the following:
When you think of the word convection, what do you think of? In a few sentences write down a couple of
things you think of when you hear the term convection. Do you think the Earth has any Convection
present in it? Why or why not? Be prepared to share your response.
Procedure- Lesson Development:
1. The educator will have students share their ideas about what convection is to them. There will be a
class led discussion to get their prior knowledge activated on convection.
2. The teacher will lead a class discussion using PowerPoint and show a short video clip on how
convection in the earth works- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpoko_l34ZE
3. The Class will then get a handout and they will have to label various parts of the convection process
and label whether or not the stage is cold or hot in the position it is at.
4. Students will get the rest of the time to write a short report on the convection process
Assessment:
For the last part of class, I will have students write a short report style paper about heat flow in the
earth. Since they will have a lecture in the earlier section of the class period, they will know the three
important factors that make convection necessary for the stability of earth. I will give students twenty to
thirty minutes to write down their initial ideas or create an outline. The paper should be around two
pages double spaced in 12 font. The assignment is due at the beginning of next class period.
Day 6
Exam
Meeting the Needs of All Students:
Language: Draw diagrams on board or at stations of procedures to follow. Use simple labels on
diagrams and materials.
Ability: Stop and ask if students need assistance on a regular basis throughout the class.
Gender: Do single-sex groupings of students to encourage all students to participate.
Lecture: students who have trouble following along will have the opportunity to receive a copy of the
lecture notes to follow along in.
Extra Assistance: students will be able to come in during lunch and afterschool for extra help on
assignments or understanding concepts
Assistance: Walk around the classroom so students will have many opportunities to talk about what
they do not understand
References:
Test From: http://www.lites.lth5.k12.il.us/finale_units/4th/platetectonics/test.pdf
Worksheet from:
http://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view?p=Plate+boundaries+worksheet&amp;back=http%3A%2F%2F
search.yahoo.com%2Fsearch%3Fei%3DUTF8%26p%3DPlate%2Bboundaires%2Bworksheet&amp;w=950&amp;h=697&amp;imgurl=www.regentsearthscience.com
%2Ftsunami%2Fplates.gif&amp;size=87KB&amp;name=plates.gif&amp;rcurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.regentsearthscienc
e.com%2Ftsunami.htm&amp;rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.regentsearthscience.com%2Ftsunami.htm&amp;type=&amp;
no=3&amp;tt=115&amp;oid=e98fcc03acfa22fed2af7f7c3600bd25&amp;tit=Tectonic+Plates+Map+from+the+N.Y.S.+Ea
rth+Science+Reference+Tables&amp;sigr=11eg2sp9u&amp;sigi=11evhs0kn&amp;sigb=124d2pdgd&amp;fr=slv8-msgr
Rubric from:
http://www.sites4teachers.com/links/redirect.php?url=http://edweb.sdsu.edu/triton/tidepoolunit/Rubr
ics/reportrubric.html
Handouts from:
http://www.phschool.com/webcodes10/index.cfm?wcprefix=cfd&amp;wcsuffix=1012&amp;area=view&amp;x=7&amp;y=1
5
Plate Tectonics Test
_________________Name
Part I: Vocabulary—Match the word with the correct definition by placing
the letter of the word in the blank next to the definition. (4 points each)
plates
crust
ring of fire
mantle fault
volcano core
erosion
Pangaea trench aftershocks hotspots
1_______________ long, narrow depression in the sea floor
2_______________ minor tremors
3_______________ opening in the volcano
4_______________ approximately 15 large masses of rock
5_______________ long area of frequent plate activity
6_______________ innermost part of the earth
7_______________ outermost layer of the earth
8_______________ weathering due to wind, water, sand movement
9_______________ theory of large super continent
10_______________ middle layer of earth
11_______________ opening in earth’s crust
12_______________ boundaries between plates
Part II: Cause &amp; Effect—In the box below make a sketch of an effect with
appropriate labels and/or phrases to clarify the action-taking place. (10
points each)
On the lines below explain in your own words how and where the above
effect is caused. Circle all vocabulary words that you use. (10 points each)
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
Part III: Short Answer—Answer the following questions with a word,
phrase, or sentence. Make sure that you answer the question completely.
(4 points each)
13. Earthquakes and volcanoes occur all over the world. However, most
of them occur along_____________________.
14. Explain how scientists measure earthquakes. ___________________
__________________________________________________________
15. Some volcanic islands, like Hawaii, form in the middle of plates.
Why?
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
16. Wegener’s idea of continental drift helps explain why fossils of the
same organisms are found on different continents. What is
continental drift?
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
17. Name the 3 major layers of the earth and describe each one.
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
18. How do people know what happened in the ancient city f Pompeii
during the first century A.D.?
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
19. Describe what happens when a volcano erupts.
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
20. Describe what happens during an earthquake.
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
Name_____________________
Convection Worksheet
1. What sources of heat cause convection currents in the mantle?
2. What causes the convection current to flow up at point D?
3. If the mantle cools between point B and point A, what happens to its density?
4. What force causes the convection cell to turn down at point B?
If the mantle cools
What force cause
5. What happens to the mantle's temperature between point C and point D?
What happens to
Scientific Report Rubric
Title of Report __________________________________
Authors' names:
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
Beginning
1
Developing
2
Accomplished
3
Exemplary
4
Gives very little
information.
Gives too much
information-more like a
summary.
Presents a
concise
lead-in to
the report.
Answers some
questions and
includes a few
other interesting
facts.
Answers
most
questions
and includes
many other
interesting
facts.
Introduction
Does not
give any
information
about what
to expect in
the report.
Research
Does not
answer any
questions
suggested in
the
template.
Answers some
questions.
Purpose/Problem
Does not
address an
issue related
to tidepools.
Addresses a
tidepool issue
which is
unrelated to
research.
Addresses an
issue somewhat
related to
research.
Addresses a
real issue
directly
related to
research
findings.
Procedure
Not
sequential,
most steps
are missing
Some of the
steps are
understandable;
most are
Most of the
steps are
understandable;
some lack detail
Presents
easy-tofollow steps
which are
Score
or are
confusing.
confusing and
lack detail.
Data &amp; Results
Data table
and/or
graph
missing
information
and are
inaccurate.
Both complete,
minor
inaccuracies
and/or illegible
characters.
Conclusion
Presents an
illogical
explanation
for findings
and does
not address
any of the
questions
suggested in
the
template.
Grammar &amp;
Spelling
or are
confusing.
logical and
adequately
detailed.
Both accurate,
some ill-formed
characters.
Data table
and graph
neatly
completed
and totally
accurate.
Presents an
illogical
explanation for
findings and
addresses few
questions.
Presents a
logical
explanation for
findings and
addresses some
of the questions.
Presents a
logical
explanation
for findings
and
addresses
most of the
questions.
Very
frequent
grammar
and/or
spelling
errors.
More than two
errors.
Only one or two
errors.
All grammar
and spelling
are correct.
Attractiveness
Illegible
writing,
loose pages.
Legible writing,
some ill-formed
letters, print too
small or too
large, papers
stapled
together.
Legible writing,
well-formed
characters, clean
and neatly
bound in a
report cover,
illustrations
provided.
Word
processed or
typed, clean
and neatly
bound in a
report cover,
illustrations
provided.
Timeliness
Report
handed in
more than
one week
late.
Up to one week
late.
Up to two days
late.
Report
handed in
on time.
Total
Plate Boundaries Worksheet
Name___________________
Plate Tectonics Day 1
Group #_______
Date____________________
Complete the following Table.
Need help? Check out http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/dynamic/understanding.html#anchor15039288
Plate Boundary
1. Convergent
2. Divergent
3. Transform
Sketch
Definition
Real world Example
Plate Boundary Questions
1. Which of the above boundaries can produce earthquakes? At which of those is the largest
earthquakes produced? (p 94)
2. Which of the above boundaries can produce volcanoes?
3. At which of the above boundaries is sea floor created?
4. At which of the above boundaries is sea floor destroyed?
5. What are the three sub-types of convergent plate boundaries?
6. What is the most studied transform fault in the world?
7. Write your own question based on plate boundaries here.
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