Our Dynamic Planet

William Prothero, University of California Santa Barbara, American Museum of Natural History

This CD-ROM consists of tools for learner investigations of data that support the theory of Plate Tectonics. Data are accessible through a point and click interface with extensive online help. This was designed for use in an introductory oceanography course to engage students in the process of posing a research question, sampling and selecting data, making an interpretation, and writing up the results in science paper format. Contents include a virtual plate tectonics lecture with 30 minutes of animated video and visualizations of the major plate boundaries, including transform faults, spreading centers, and subduction zones. The India-Eurasia continental collision is discussed. A geography game is intended to help students recognize the location of continents, seas, and oceans on a world map. A profile game helps students learn to use elevation profiles to visualize topographic features. A zoomable, scrollable world map with a point and click interface to plot earth data allows students to distinguish between the plate boundary types and examine several spreading centers at high resolution. Elevation profiles (from ETOPO5 DEM), earthquake plots (map and cross-section view), volcanoes, seafloor age, island ages, heat flow, and still and video images are available. Any portion of the screen can be captured for incorporation into student presentations and writing exercises. A simple graphics editor allows students to compose, edit, and print their image displays. This software supports inquiries into plate boundary types, hot spots, plate velocities and directions. In addition, subduction zones can be compared and the East Pacific Rise can be contrasted with the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, using the high-resolution data. Magnetic anomalies are shown in the high-resolution data, and can be used to study how to determine seafloor age. A companion teacher's manual discusses elements of a science investigation, how to write a science paper, how to use the software, and gives examples of investigations that can be performed.

This description of a site outside SERC has not been vetted by SERC staff and may be incomplete or incorrect. If you have information we can use to flesh out or correct this record let us know.

This resource originally cataloged at:

This resource is referenced here:
Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Structural Geology:Regional Structural/Tectonic Activity, Geophysics and Structural Geology, Geoscience:Geology:Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology:Igneous Associations and Tectonic Settings, Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics, Tectonics
Resource Type: Datasets and Tools:Datasets, Activities
Special Interest: Hazards
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), High School (9-12), College Upper (15-16), Middle (6-8)
Topics: Solid Earth:Petrology:Igneous Associations and Tectonic Settings, Chemistry/Physics/Mathematics, Solid Earth:Structural Geology:Regional Structural/Tectonic Activity, Human Dimensions/Resources, Solid Earth:Structural Geology:Geophysics and Structural Geology/Earthquakes/Seismic Reflection Profiling, Earth surface
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Petrology, Teach the Earth:Incorporating Societal Issues:Hazards, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Structural Geology, Geophysics, Teach the Earth:Teaching Topics:Plate Tectonics