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Plate Tectonics Activities


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Exploring the Bay Area
Carla Grandy, Skyline College
This assignment is a do-it-yourself field trip. Students are given the opportunity to visit a local geologic feature and learn something about the origins and evolution of that site.

The Pet Rock Project - Developing Professional Communication in a Petrology Course
Darrell Henry, Professor of Geology and Geophysics, Louisiana State University

Investigating Earthquakes: GIS Mapping and Analysis (College Level)
Brian Welch
This is a college-level adaptation of a chapter from the Earth Exploration Toolbook. The students download global quake data over a time range and use GIS to interpret the tectonic context. -

Profiling Earth's Surface using GeoMapApp
Laura Wetzel, Eckerd College
In this exercise, students relate large-scale features on Earth's surface to lithospheric plates, the underlying asthenosphere, earthquakes, and volcanoes. After creating a cross section showing elevation using GeoMapApp, students add additional features by hand.

Where is that chunk of crust going?
Vince Cronin, Baylor University
I introduce students to GPS, frames of reference, and the permanent GPS stations in the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) in class, and obtain near-real-time data for two stations from UNAVCO. We use ...

Naming Igneous Rocks
Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota-Main Campus
This project is intended to introduce students to the IUGS rock classification scheme. Samples come from the Wards Collections (which many schools have). Students are provided with both hand specimens and thin ...

Mapping Plate Tectonic Boundaries
Michael Kerwin, University of Denver
This activity asks students to explore a National Geographic map showing Earth's plate tectonic boundaries. The exercise lets the students examine relationships between plate tectonic boundaries and geologic ...

Magma Viscosity Demos
Barry Bickmore, Brigham Young University
This is an interactive lecture where students answer questions about demonstrations shown in several movie files. They learn to connect what they have learned about molecules, phases of matter, silicate crystal structures, and igneous rock classification with magma viscosity, and to connect magma viscosity with volcano explosiveness and morphology.

Classification of Igneous Rocks
Louis Bartek, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
This is a Think-Pair-Share activity in which I show class photos of a range of igneous rocks in terms of composition and texture. After they complete the activity I fill in the voids in their knowledge with lecture ...

Yellowstone! A National Park on a Hot Spot
Module by: Judy McIlrath, University of South Florida Cover Page by: Len Vacher and Denise Davis, University of South Florida
Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum module/Geology of National Parks course. Students use foundational math to study the velocity of the North American Plate over the hot spot, the volume of eruptive materials from it, and the recurrence interval of the cataclysmic eruptions.


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