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Plate Tectonics Activities


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Plate Motions
Jeffrey Nunn, Louisiana State University
Students are asked to removed the last 40 Ma of ocean crust from an isochron map and then put the plates back together. This exercise helps students see that plates and plate boundaries canNOT be stationary through ...

Tracking Tectonic Plates Using Two Independent Methods
Laurel Goodell, Princeton University
Students use two independent methods to determine relative plate motions across a plate boundary. They find that plate tectonic theory generally holds up but also discover sophisticated detail (e.g. velocities ...

Google Earth Lab for Oceanography
Beth Dushman, Del Mar College
This activity is designed to give students an introduction to Google Earth, and to demonstrate some of its capabilities as an educational tool. This lab asks students to examine a number of features and to answer ...

Metropolitan Museum of Art: Earth Materials and Ancient Cultures
Wayne Powell, CUNY Brooklyn College
Students investigate properties of earth materials through the lens of art and archeology. It allows ties to other required core curriculum courses (particularly classics and art history), and integrates the use of ...

Milky Way - Ductile and Brittle Demo
Mark Wood
Milky way candy bar is given to each student. They are told to bend it and write down what they observe. The activity takes an every day object and ties the geologic terms to something they have experience with.

Timeline of the Early Earth
Selby Cull
Students assemble timelines of the early evolution of Earth's atmosphere, lithosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere by examining data from Archean rocks and minerals.

Learning Assessment #3 - Igneous & Sedimentary Rocks (2011)
Leslie Reid, University of Calgary; Michelle Speta, University of Alberta
An in-class activity that tests students' understanding of igneous and sedimentary rocks and processes.

Reading Time Series Plots
Shelley Olds, UNAVCO
This activity provides a brief introduction to GPS and provides a student activity to practice creating and reading time series plots with simplified GPS data and with authentic GPS data from Iceland.

Earthquake Investigation Workshop: Shake, Rattle, & Rock
Daniel Murray, University of Rhode Island
This workshop is part of an NSF-funded effort to provide professional development to STEM teachers in Rhode Island. In this activity, students will make "earthquakes" using a simple model, the earthquake ...

Cascadia Great Earthquake and Tsunami Suite
Michael Mayhew, National Science Foundation;
Michael Mayhew and Michelle Hall, Science Education Solutions Summary The Cascadia Earthquakes and Tsunami Suite contains five case studies organized around understanding the potential for large earthquakes and ...


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