Wegener*s Strange Idea*

Friday, December 5
• Warm Up: How many pieces of evidence would
you need to believe something is true? Why?
Warm-up – 5 min
Lecture – 10 min
Notes – 10 min
Work time – 25 min
Wegener’s Strange Idea…
I. Who was Dr. Wegener?
a) Alfred Wegener
(pronounced “VAY-guhner”)
b) Lived 1880-1930
c) German scientist
d) Studied many different fields of
science to come up with his
theory: meteorology (weather &
climate), astronomy, biology,
e) 1915: published book: “The Origin
of Continents and Oceans”
Theory of Continental Drift
a) Wegener’s hypothesis was that all the
continents were once joined together and
have since drifted apart.
*drift* - to wander or to be carried along
b) Wegener called this supercontinent “Pangea”
(“all” + “Earth”)
• Stop and think… what does the phrase
“Continental drift” mean? Write your own
explanation AND draw a picture to remind you
of this explanation…
III. Wegener’s Evidence
a. COASTLINES: Today’s continents fit together
like puzzle pieces
b. FOSSILS: Similar animal fossils can be found on
continents that are very different today
(example- Lystrosaurus in India, Africa, and Antarctica)
- identical rock layers
on coast lines of
different continents
(example- S.
America and Africa)
- Mountain chains
seem to match up
across oceans!
• Tropical fossils found in arctic
• Glacier (giant ice masses) scratches in South
Africa (hot today!)
e. Wegener concluded…
At one point in the past, today’s continents must
have been:
• joined together
• located at different latitudes
IV. HOW & WHY did he think the
continents moved?
a) Wegener thought the continents moved through
the ocean floor, just like icebreakers move through
b) Wegener couldn’t explain a good reason
HOW or WHY the continents moved.
(Mechanism - the way that something happens)
Time-out from lecture….
Thought experiment:
• Imagine you knew nothing about gravity…
• “Hey! Did you know that the moon is what
makes the ocean levels go higher and lower at
different times of day?”
• Would you believe me? Why or why not?
(cont.) Why wouldn’t you believe that?
• “Hey! Did you know that the moon is what
makes the ocean levels go higher and lower at
different times of day?”
• I didn’t explain a way of HOW that happens.
(No mechanism!)
Wegener put the pieces together correctly…
stuck together…
times in the
past… But he
couldn’t explain HOW the continents moved.
but he doesn’t know why!
• “Hey! Did you know that the moon is what
makes the ocean levels go higher and lower at
different times of day? That’s because the
ocean thinks that the moon is its daddy. Every
night the ocean wants to hear a bedtime
story, so it gets closer to the moon!”
That would be like Wegener saying
the continents move, because they
to believe me now?
through the ocean floor!
C. Big problems w/ Wegener’s proposed mechanism:
i. Hard rock would be breaking through more
hard rock!
ii. Even if continents COULD break through the
ocean floor, Wegener couldn’t explain what
kind of energy or force was making entire
continents move.
d) Without a good mechanism, most geologists
rejected Wegener’s idea about continental
(reject= to refuse to accept)
e) To move forward, scientists had to explain
Yikes! To Much Information!
Brain Overload!
• Read page 18 – 22
• COMPLETE page 8 in your PT book.
• Complete lab from yesterday
Write a 5+ sentence summary of
Wegener’s BIG Idea
V. Conclusion
• It’s still a happy science story!
– Wegener used EVIDENCE to propose an
explanation for something that he observed
– He used many different fields of science
– He made people think…
– Other scientists built off of his ideas.
– He was actually CORRECT- continents do move…
he just couldn’t explain HOW they move!
Summarize your notes! Due _____
• Highlight or underline the main ideas from these
– (don’t highlight more than 1/3 of the text!)
• Write a five to eight sentence summary of the big
ideas from these notes.
– Don’t just list the topics we talked about, but
summarize the facts and ideas you learned
– You can write your summary below or attach a
separate sheet of paper
• Done? Work on foldable (Wegener’s Strange
Idea). Then read pages 18-29!
Tuesday 01/14/14
• Warm Up: What was Wegener’s Theory
• Done?
1. Update your Foldable – Wegener’s theory and
2. Turn in your letter!
Tuesday – 01/14/14
1. Open you book to page 14.
2. Read pages 14-17.
Wednesday 01/15/14
• Warm Up: How do the continents move?
• Done?
1. Update your TOC to P-5
2. Help Mrs. Woodruff pass back papers.
- Warm Up / TOC update
- Foldable Update
- Reading – Sea Floor Spreading & Model
- Independent Work Time
Wednesday 01/15/14
• Independent Work Time:
Letter to Wegener (Finish and Turn in)
P-4 Summary (pink sheet – finish and turn in)
Convection current work sheet (P-5) Finish
Done with ALL of this? GREAT JOB! Read pages 2629
Thursday 01/16/14
• Warm Up: Explain what a convection current
• Done?
1. Start reading silently/individually pages 26 – 29.
2. Start working on P-6.