Visualizing Relationships with Data: Exploring plate boundaries with Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and GPS Data in the Western U.S. & Alaska | Lessons on Plate Tectonics
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Students should be familiar with using the internet.
How the activity is situated in the course
This activity can be used at any time in an earth science class. However, in the sequence of lessons about plate tectonics, it is an optional activity to use data to learn about plate tectonics.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Students will be able to:
- Describe how the locations of earthquakes, volcanoes, and velocity vectors from GPS stations inform us about plate boundary zones
- Describe and draw a velocity vector
- Describe the difference between a plate boundary and plate boundary zone
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
- Analyze regional plate motion.
- Interpret crustal deformation based on velocity vector map.
Other skills goals for this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
I This activity consists of four parts:
- Preparing the online map for study
- Compare and analyze earthquake and volcano locations
- Analyze regional crustal motions using GPS Vector Data
- Put it all together to interpret plate motions and boundary types
Student and teacher files are available as both PDF and docx formats. The zip files below contain both formats.
Materials for the Western United States
- Western US Student Worksheet (Acrobat (PDF) 791kB Feb25 22) OR Western US Student Worksheet (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 660kB Feb25 22)
- Western US Maps - Blank (Acrobat (PDF) 125kB Jan15 22) OR Western US Maps - Blank (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 311kB Jan15 22)
- To be used with paper-based instruction: Western US Maps (Acrobat (PDF) 1.6MB Oct17 21) OR Western US Maps (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 311kB Jan15 22)
Materials for Alaska
- Alaska Student Worksheet (Acrobat (PDF) 2MB Feb26 22) OR Alaska Student Worksheet (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 1.7MB Feb26 22)
- Alaska Map - Blank (Acrobat (PDF) 1.8MB Jan15 22)
Supporting Presentation: Visualizing Relationships with Data: Exploring plate boundaries with Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and GPS Data for the two portions of this lesson (in both PDF and PowerPoint formats) are also available. Both give background on determining and visualizing relationships between earthquakes, volcanoes, and plate tectonics for a specific area — the Western United States or Alaska. The pptx is fairly extensive. Edit as works best for your learners.
Assessment is primarily through the grading of the accompanying student worksheets.