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Plate Tectonics Activities


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Connecting Cross-Sectional Data from the Red Sea to Plate Tectonics
Laura Guertin, Penn State Brandywine
Students will use map views and cross-sectional profiles across the Red Sea to determine plate tectonic processes in the region. Google Earth is a technological tool used to facilitate the investigation.

Plate Tectonics Jigsaw
Anne Egger, Central Washington University
Students participate in a jigsaw activity to learn about types of plate boundaries, becoming an expert in one of five global datasets - earthquakes, volcanoes, seafloor age, topography, and gravity - and then ...

Learning Assessment #1 - Plate Tectonics
Michelle Speta, University of Alberta; Leslie Reid, University of Calgary
An in-class activity that tests students' understanding of the basic concepts of plate tectonics.

The science behind Plate Tectonics
John Weber, Grand Valley State University
Plate tectonics is a quantitative, robust and testable, geologic model describing the surface motions of Earth's outer skin. It is based on real data and assumptions, and built using the scientific method. New ...

Using Google Earth to Explore Plate Tectonics
Laurel Goodell, Princeton University
Students use Google Earth to learn about plate tectonics by exploring the topography of the earth's continents and ocean floor, the distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes, and seafloor age. They become familiar with these global data sets and understand how Earth's tectonic plates and plate boundaries are defined.

Exploring Evidence of Plate Tectonics Using GeoMapApp
Sean Cornell, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
This activity requires students to explore a range of datasets that help substantiate Plate Tectonic Theory. Students investigate plate tectonic environments (convergent, divergent, transform boundaries), topography/bathymetry of continents and ocean basins, the distribution and pattern of earthquakes, the distribution of volcanoes, as well as ages of the sea-floor, and more.

GEO-Logic: Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics
Laura Guertin, Penn State Brandywine
Students are asked to match up lecturers with what day and time they teach, and how many students they have based on clues given from several different perspectives. In the second part of the activity, students are asked to learn more about the historic figures mentioned in the activity by doing reading and web research.

Plate Tectonics writing assignment suitable for Calibrated Peer Review
Bill Prothero, University of California-Santa Barbara
This is an example of a writing assignment focussed on the use of data to support the theory of plate tectonics. -

Evaluating the lines of evidence for plate tectonics
Becca Walker, Mt San Antonio College
In this in-class exercise, students compare several lines of evidence that support the ideas of continental drift and plate tectonics. Before the class meeting, each student is given a preparation assignment in which he/she studies one "continental drift" and one "ocean floor data" map. In class, students divide into teams of 3, with each team member having prepared different specialties. They discuss their respective maps and look for spatial patterns among the data.

Evidence for Plate Tectonics
David Smith, GLOBE; Franklin Kao; Missy Holzer
DATA: Sea Floor Age, Volcano and Earthquake Distributions. TOOL: My World GIS. SUMMARY: Identify relationships among sea-floor age, earthquakes, and volcanoes to understand how they support the theory of plate tectonics.

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