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Plate Tectonics Activities


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Distribution of Active Volcanoes Exercise
Rebecca Teed, Wright State University-Main Campus
In this series of inquiry-based exercises about volcanoes and plate tectonics, students will collect, plot, and interpret data and finish with a role-playing activity and a virtual field trip. -

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.

South Carolina Studies: Bringing the Geologic Time Scale Down to Earth in the Students' Backyard
John Wagner, Clemson University
Students visit Drayton Hall historic plantation near Charleston, South Carolina and are led on a field trip that starts with a discussion of documented historic changes that have affected the mansion and the surrounding property. The field trip continues with a study of Native American artifacts and ends with analysis of coastal plain deposits exposed along the Ashley River. Students use paleogeographic maps to discuss both historic and prehistoric changes to the landscape. Back in the classroom, students gather data to draw paleogeographic maps of their own school site through geologic time.

Characterizing Plate Boundaries
Bill Hirt, College of the Siskiyous
Students examine maps showing four different types of geologic data along three specific plate boundaries, and document the patterns in the data along each boundary. Next, they compare their observations to the ...

Visualizing Earthquakes at Convergent Plate Margins
Cara Harwood, University of California-Davis
In this activity students visualize the distribution and magnitude of earthquakes at convergent plate boundaries. Earthquakes are visualized on a 3D globe, making it easy to see their distribution within ...

A Kinesthetic Demonstration for Locating Earthquake Epicenters
John Keyantash, California State University-Dominguez Hills
A kinesthetic activity for students to understand the technique for locating the epicenter of an earthquake. It is performed indoors and outdoors in three lessons.

Emergent Models in Google Earth
Declan De Paor, Old Dominion University
This is one sample of a set of emergent models we are developing for use with Google Earth. Students use the Google Earth time-slider to lift 3D models of the subsurface into view. They can substitute their own ...

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.

Binary eutectic in-class exercise (Di-An)
Allen Glazner
In this activity students work through a binary eutectic phase diagram in small groups and try to determine a set of generalizations that explain the behavior of such systems (e.g., "the first liquid produced ...

Volcanoes around the Globe (Beta test copy)
Mark Abolins, Middle Tennessee State University
Undergraduate non-majors use the Arcview geographic information system (GIS) to explore volcanic hazards and the geochemistry of volcanic rocks. Students explore geochemical data from the GEOROC global database and ...


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