ALEX Lesson Plan

     

Plate Tectonics: Slip, Slidin' Away

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Shirley Scarbrough
Organization:Alabama State University Math-science Pa
And
Author:Debbie Payne
Organization:ResultSearch Consulting
And
Author:Ruth Liddell
System: Informal Education Partner
School: Informal Education Partner
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33335

Title:

Plate Tectonics: Slip, Slidin' Away

Overview/Annotation:

This lesson is the second of a three-part unit on plate tectonics, which includes hands-on, inquiry-based activities. Students will use a hard-boiled egg to model Earth’s tectonic plates and interior layers. In addition, students will various edible materials to model the movement of tectonic plates at the different types of plate boundaries.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 6
Earth and Space Science
4 ) Construct explanations from geologic evidence (e.g., change or extinction of particular living organisms; field evidence or representations, including models of geologic cross-sections; sedimentary layering) to identify patterns of Earth's major historical events (e.g., formation of mountain chains and ocean basins, significant volcanic eruptions, fossilization, folding, faulting, igneous intrusion, erosion).

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Systems
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Identify patterns of Earth's major historical events in geologic evidence.
  • Construct explanations from identified patterns regarding Earth's major historical events.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Natural event
  • Catastrophic event
  • Mountain chain
  • Ocean basin
  • Fossilization
  • Folding
  • Faulting
  • Igneous intrusion
  • Erosion
  • Volcano
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Asteroid impact
  • Geologic time scale
  • Rock
  • Rock strata
  • Fossil record
  • Relative age
  • Mineral
  • Fossil
  • Sedimentary rock
  • Lava flow
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • Major events in Earth's history include natural and catastrophic events.
  • Natural events may include formations of mountain chains, formations of ocean basins, fossilization, folding, faulting, igneous intrusion, and erosion.
  • Catastrophic events may include significant volcanic eruptions or asteroid impacts,
  • The geologic time scale interpreted from rock strata provides a way to organize Earth's history.
  • Analyses of rock strata and the fossil record provide only relative dates, not an absolute scale.
  • Rock strata are layers of rock visually distinguishable from other layers of rock.
  • Rocks are the solid mineral materials forming part of the surface of the Earth and other similar planets.
  • Fossils are a trace or print of the remains of a plant or animal of a past age preserved in plant or rock.
  • Unless they have been disturbed by subsequent activity, newer rock layers sit on top of older rock layers, allowing for a relative ordering in time of the formation of the layers (i.e., older sedimentary rocks lie beneath younger sedimentary rocks).
  • Any rocks or features that cut existing rock strata are younger than the rock strata that they cut (e.g., a younger fault cutting across older, existing rock strata).
  • The fossil record can provide relative ages based on the appearance or disappearance of organisms (e.g., fossil layers that contain only extinct animal groups are usually older than fossil layers that contain animal groups that are still alive today, and layers with only microbial fossils are typical of the earliest evidence of life).
  • Specific major events (e.g., extensive lava flows, volcanic eruptions, asteroid impacts) can be used to indicate periods of time that occurred before a given event from periods that occurred after it.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Articulate a statement that relates a given phenomenon to a scientific idea, including that geologic evidence can be used to identify patterns of Earth's major historical events.
  • Identify and use multiple valid and reliable sources of evidence to construct an explanation identifying patterns of Earth's major historical events.
  • Use reasoning to connect the evidence and support an explanation of patterns in Earth's major historical events.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • The geologic time scale interpreted from rock strata provides a way to organize Earth's history. Analyses of rock strata and the fossil record provide only relative dates, not an absolute scale.
  • Using a combination of the order of rock layers, the fossil record, and evidence of major geologic events, the relative time ordering of events can be constructed as a model for Earth's history, even though the timescales involved are immensely vaster than the lifetimes of humans or the entire history of humanity.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Exploring Planetary Systems

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
E8.3: Fossils provide important evidence of how life and environmental conditions have changed in a given location.

NAEP Statement::
E8.4: Earth processes seen today, such as erosion and mountain building, make it possible to measure geologic time through methods such as observing rock sequences and using fossils to correlate the sequences at various locations.

NAEP Statement::
E8.9b: Major geological events, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain building, result from these plate motions.



Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.6.4- Identify sedimentary layering in Earth as evidence of the formation of mountains.


Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 6
Earth and Space Science
6 ) Provide evidence from data of the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to explain past plate motions.

Insight Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns
Disciplinary Core Idea: Earth's Systems
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Explain past plate motions with supporting evidence from data of the distribution of fossils, rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Evidence
  • Data
  • Fossils
  • Rock
  • Continent
  • Continental shelf
  • Geologic past
  • Pangea
  • Ridges
  • Volcanic ridges
  • Trenches
  • Theory of Continental Drift
  • Theory of Plate Tectonics
  • Crust
  • Mantle
  • Core
  • Lithosphere
  • Asthenosphere
  • Convection
  • Divergent boundary
  • Convergent boundary
  • Transform plate boundary
  • Seafloor
  • Seafloor structures
  • Alfred Wegener
  • Plastic flow
Knowledge:
Students:
  • Fossils are a trace or print of the remains of a plant or animal of a past age preserved in plant or rock.
  • Rocks are the solid mineral materials forming part of the surface of the Earth and other similar planets.
  • A continent is any of the world's main continuous expanses of land (i.e.,, Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America).
  • The continental shelf is the part of a continent that lies under the ocean and slopes down to the ocean floor.
  • Regions of different continents that share similar fossils and similar rocks suggest that, in the geologic past, those sections of continent were once attached and have since been separated.
  • The shapes of the continents roughly fit together like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle, suggesting that those land masses were once joined and have since separated.
  • The hypothetical land mass that existed when all the continents were joined is called Pangea.
  • The separation of continents by the sequential formation of new seafloor at the center of the ocean is inferred by age patterns in the oceanic crust that increase in age from the center of the ocean to the edges of the ocean.
  • The distribution of seafloor structures (e.g., volcanic ridges at the centers of oceans, trenches at the edges of continents) combined with the patterns of ages of the seafloor (youngest ages at the ridge, oldest ages at the trenches) supports the interpretation that new crust forms at the ridges and then moves away from the ridges as new crust continues to form and that the oldest crust is being destroyed at seafloor trenches.
  • Ridges are underwater mountain systems formed by plate tectonics.
  • Trenches are long, narrow, steep-sided depressions in the ocean floor.
  • The Theory of Continental Drift was first proposed by Alfred Wegener and proposes that part of the Earth's crust slowly drifts atop a liquid core.
  • The Theory of Plate Tectonics states that the outer rigid layer of the Earth is divided into a couple of dozen "plates" that move around across the Earth's surface relative to each other.
  • The layers of the Earth include, from outmost to innermost, the crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core. The crust and upper mantle are broken into moving plates called the lithosphere. The asthenosphere is located below the lithosphere. In the asthenosphere, there is relatively low resistance to plastic flow and convection occurs, causing plates to move.
  • The three types of plate tectonic boundaries include divergent, convergent, and transform plate boundaries.
  • Divergent boundaries occur when two tectonic plates move away from each other.
  • Convergent boundaries occur when two tectonic plates come together.
  • Transform plate boundaries occur when two plates slide past one another.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Articulate a statement that relates a given phenomenon to a scientific idea, including that past plate motions can be described with data from the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures.
  • Organize given data in a way that facilitates analysis and interpretation.
  • Analyze the data to identify relationships between the data and Earth's past plate motions.
  • Identify and use multiple valid and reliable sources of data.
  • Use evidence and reasoning to construct an explanation for the given phenomenon, which involves past plate motions.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Maps of ancient land and water patterns, based on investigations of rocks and fossils, make clear how Earth's plates have moved great distances, collided, and spread apart.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Exploring Plate Tectonics

NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
E8.3: Fossils provide important evidence of how life and environmental conditions have changed in a given location.

NAEP Statement::
E8.4: Earth processes seen today, such as erosion and mountain building, make it possible to measure geologic time through methods such as observing rock sequences and using fossils to correlate the sequences at various locations.



Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.6.6- Recognize that the distribution of specific fossils and rocks as well as the shapes of the continents provide evidence of tectonic plate movement.


Local/National Standards:

 

Primary Learning Objective(s):

  • Students will be able to describe the origin of the theory of plate tectonics.
  • Students will be able to describe the composition of the Earth’s crustal plates.
  • Students will investigate the Earth’s various crustal plate types and boundaries using hard-boiled eggs as models.
  • Students will create a model the Earth’s layers using hard-boiled eggs.
  • Students will simulate the movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates to demonstrate how they cause major geological events using edible snacks.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 
 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

Greater than 120 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Student Materials

Pencil or pen

Pre-/Post-Test (see attached document)

Background Information (see attached document)

Slip, Slidin’ Away Plate Tectonics Word Search (see attached document)

Activity A-Why on Earth is Humpty Dumpty Like a Crusty Old Crack-Up?

Handout A-The Egg Lab (see attached document)

Materials Needed Per Partner Group:

Paper towels

3 hard-boiled eggs

2 colored water-based markers

Plastic knife

Activity B-Wegener’s Proof: Plate Tectonics, How Sweet It Is!

Handout B (see attached document)

Graham Cracker Chewing Gum Lab Handout (see attached document)

Data Sheet for Handout B (see attached document)

Materials Needed Per Partner Group:

Blue cake icing (approximately ½ cup)                     

One plastic cup

2 graham cracker squares                                 

12” by 12” sheet of wax paper

2 chewing gum squares                                     

Wet wipes

Plastic knife                                                     

Disposable aprons

Small bottle of water

For Acceleration Activity

Handout C (see attached document)

Metric ruler                                           

Calculator

Cardboard cutout of California         

Scissors

Teacher Materials

Pre-/Post-Test Answer Key (see attached document)

Handout A with Answers (see attached document)

Data Sheet for Handout B with Answers (see attached document)

Plate Tectonics-Slip, Slidin’ Away PowerPoint (see attached PowerPoint presentation)

For Acceleration Activity: Handout C with Answers (see attached document)

Technology Resources Needed:

Teacher computer

Interactive whiteboard or projector

Background/Preparation:

Student Background Information: As this lesson will serve as an introduction to Earth’s interior, tectonic plates, and plate boundaries, students do not need to possess background knowledge about these concepts prior to participating in the lesson’s activities. This lesson will require students to participate in hands-on, inquiry-based lab activities. The students will need to be able to follow multi-step procedural instructions in order to complete the experiments. Students will be participating in lab activities in which common edible items will be handled. Students should follow all appropriate safety precautions including wearing gloves and goggles.

Teacher Background Information: This lesson is the second in the Plate Tectonics module. The teacher may wish to incorporate part one of this module prior to beginning this lesson plan (Plate Tectonics: Pangaea-The Supercontinent). The teacher should preview the lab procedures and required materials prior to teaching the lesson to ensure that the student lab activities are prepared for students before beginning the lesson’s activities. As written, the activities included in this lesson will require at least four class days to complete. The teacher can view the Plate Tectonics-Slip, Slidin’ Away Presentation for additional background information about the concepts taught in this lesson. The teacher should review lab safety precautions with students and ensure students follow these procedures for the duration of the lesson.

  Procedures/Activities: 

Before Strategy/Engage: 50 minutes (Day 1)

  1. The teacher should give each student a copy of the Pre-/Post-Test. The teacher should give students approximately twenty minutes to complete the pre-test. The teacher should stress to students that the purpose of the pre-test is to demonstrate the student’s background knowledge about the theory of plate tectonics
  2. After students complete the pretest, the teacher should check students’ answers to determine their current knowledge base of the concepts using the Pre-/Post-Test Answer Key. Alternatively, the teacher could allow students to check their own paper or check a partner’s paper.
  3. The teacher should give each student a copy of the Background Information handout (see attached document). The teacher should allow students approximately ten minutes to read the passage, asking students to focus on the meaning of the vocabulary words in bold text.
  4. After students have had ample time to read the passage, the teacher should give each student a copy of the Slip, Slidin’ Away Plate Tectonics Word Search (see attached document). The teacher should allow students to complete the word search, which focuses on vocabulary words related to plate tectonics. The students will need to keep the word search for the last part of this plate tectonics module.

Note: If the teacher has taught the first portion of this module (Plate Tectonics: Pangaea-The Supercontinent) the students should already have a copy of this word search.

During Strategy/Explore & Explain: (Days 2 and 3)

Activity A-Why on Earth is Humpty Dumpty Like a Crusty Old Crack-Up?

  1. Each student will need a copy of Handout A (see attached document). The students should be divided into partner groups for this portion of the lesson. Each partner group will need the following materials: paper towels, 3 hard-boiled eggs, 2 colored water-based markers, and a plastic knife.

Student Procedures for Lab Activity

  1. Place the hard-boiled egg on the paper towel and gently tap the egg on a hard surface while turning the egg over to produce cracks of various lengths and sizes all around the egg.  CAUTION:  Do not tap the egg too hard or too many times!
  2. Trace along several of the large cracks with the colored markers.
  3. Very gently squeeze the egg to produce the following types of motion:  A. two adjacent pieces of the shell pulling apart; B. two adjacent pieces of the shell pressing together; and C. two pieces of shell sliding alongside each other in opposite directions.
  4. On your handout, use arrows to sketch to indicate the direction of the movement of the eggshell pieces as described in A, B, and C.
  5. Answer questions 1-6 on Handout A.
  6. Take the plastic knife and cut through the middle of one of the eggs. Examine the layers closely.
  7. Answer questions 1-4 on Handout A.

Activity B-Wegener’s Proof: Plate Tectonics, How Sweet It Is!

  1. Each student will need a copy of Handout B, the Graham Cracker Chewing Gum Lab Handout, and the Data Sheet for Handout B (see attached documents). The students should be divided into partner groups for this portion of the lesson. Each partner group will need the following materials: blue cake icing (approximately ½ cup), one plastic cup, 2 graham cracker squares, 12” by 12” sheet of wax paper, 2 chewing gum squares, wet wipes, plastic knife, disposable aprons, and a small bottle of water.

Student Procedures for Lab Activity

  1. Before putting your wax paper on the table, place a few drops of water on the table in order to keep the paper from sliding.
  2. Use the knife to spread the frosting to the outer edges of the wax paper, making the layer about two times as thick as a graham cracker. Refer to the diagram provided on the Graham Cracker Chewing Gum Lab Handout.
  3. Place two squares of chewing gum in their wrappers side-by-side lightly on top of the frosting so that they are touching; press down as you slowly push them apart (about ¼ of an inch). Observe what happens to the frosting where the plates are separated. On the Data Sheet for Handout B draw a cross section diagram (NOT a replica of what is on the Lab Sheet) to show what the divergent plate boundary looks like and answer the questions. Remove the two pieces of chewing gum, scrape off the frosting and smooth the frosting back onto the wax paper (refer to the Graham Cracker Chewing Gum Lab Handout Diagram #1).
  4. Break a whole graham cracker into two squares. Place one graham cracker square lightly onto the frosting. Place one of the chewing gum squares next to the graham cracker square so that they are almost touching. Gently push the graham cracker square toward the chewing gum until the two overlap and the graham cracker is on top (refer to the Graham Cracker Chewing Gum Lab Handout Diagram #2). On the Data Sheet for Handout B draw a cross section diagram to show what a continental-oceanic convergent boundary (subduction) looks like and answer the questions.
  5. Remove both the graham cracker and the chewing gum from the frosting. Scrape off the frosting from both the cracker and the chewing gum and smooth the frosting back onto the wax paper. Place a smooth edge of both crackers into the cup of water for five seconds (refer to the Graham Cracker Chewing Gum Lab Handout Diagram #3). Place the crackers with the wet edges next to each other on the frosting. Slowly push the graham crackers toward each other. Observe the edges of the graham crackers where they are colliding. On the Data Sheet for Handout B draw a cross section diagram to show what a convergent continental-continental boundary looks like and answer the questions.
  6. Remove the two graham crackers from the frosting and turn them around so that two dry edges are next to each other. Gently push them together, applying steady pressure; at the same time, push one piece away from you and pull the other toward you. If you do this correctly, the graham crackers should initially hold along the edges; as you increase the push/pull pressure, the edges will eventually crumble due to the opposing forces. On the Data Sheet for Handout B, draw a cross section diagram to show what a transform plate boundary looks like and answer the questions (refer to the Graham Cracker Chewing Gum Lab Handout Diagram #4).

After Strategy/Explain & Elaborate: 50 minutes (Day 4)

  1. After all groups have completed the lab activities, the teacher should lead a class discussion among all of the groups to compare each group’s data.

    Note: If the teacher identifies that students need additional review before the summative assessment, the teacher may show students the Plate Tectonics-Slip, Slidin’ Away presentation to review the concepts demonstrated during the lab activities (see attached PowerPoint presentation).

  2. The teacher should give the students the Pre-/Post-Test, that students completed as a pre-test at the beginning of the lesson. The teacher should explain to students that this post-test will allow students to demonstrate the knowledge they acquired during the lab activities.


Attachments:
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  Assessment  

Assessment Strategies

Formative: The teacher will informally assess student’s background knowledge by administering the Pre-/Post-Test prior to teaching the lesson. The teacher should carefully monitor students as they complete the lab activities with their groups to certify that students are correctly following the lab procedures and collecting accurate data.

Summative: The teacher will formally assess students at the conclusion of each lab experiment by reviewing each student’s answers to the reflection questions included on Handout A and Handout B. The teacher will administer the Pre-/Post-Test as a summative assessment at the end of the lesson.

Acceleration:

To complete the acceleration activity, each student will need a copy of Handout C, a metric ruler, a calculator, a cardboard cutout of California, and a pair of scissors. An answer key is provided for the teacher to assess student work (see attached document).

Student Procedures

1.  Cut out the California map along the San Andreas Fault.

2.  Scientists estimate that continents drift on top of the Earth’s mantle at about the rate of a growing fingernail. Estimate how many centimeters your fingernails grow in one year.

3. Assume that two places on the Earth’s surface which were once next to each other drifted apart 5,000km. How many centimeters is that?

4. If these two places began separating 100,000,000 years ago, how many centimeters per year did they move? Draw a line at #5 on your answer sheet to indicate this distance.

5. If San Francisco and Los Angeles are moving toward each other at the rate you determined, and if they are now 500 kilometers apart, how long will it take for the cities to become next door neighbors?

Intervention:

Students who require additional preparation prior to the lesson or review after the lesson can view the Plate Tectonics-Slip, Slidin’ Away Presentation which succinctly summarizes the concepts demonstrated during this lesson’s lab activities.


View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.