- The dynamic, "conveyor-belt" nature of plate movement.
- How oceans are formed during continental rifting.
- The relationship between plate features and tectonic data (earthquakes, heat flow, and volcanoes)
Context for Use
- One laminated piece of card stock
- Two strips of paper made from a legal (8.5" x 14") sized sheet of paper and labeled "Oceanic"
- Two strips of paper made from a legal (8.5" x 14") sized sheet of paper containing both "Oceanic" and "Continental" regions.
- At least one overhead marker
Plate Kinematics Model Templates (Acrobat (PDF) 52kB Apr29 08)
During a lecture, have the students assemble the model and move the strips to observe the basic kinematics of plate movement. Students also plot the locations of volcanoes, earthquakes, and high heat flow on the cardstock and observe the relationship between plate geometry and the data. By using the strips with continental lithosphere, students can model the breakup of a continent and formation of a new ocean.
Teaching Notes and Tips
- If you have a personal response system, you can ask conceptest questions that focus on characteristics of plate boundaries and motions. (See Reference and Resource section for conceptest questions that assess this model.)
- By walking around the class, the instructor can observe how well the groups comprehend the underlying concepts and ask individual students to explain their conceptual understanding
- A short quiz could be given at the end of the class.
- Students could complete a worksheet containing questions about subduction zone earthquakes.
- Students could write a 'minute paper' explaining the distribution of subduction zone earthquakes.