Geology Home Page physical geology historical geology planetary gems
Roger Weller, geology instructor
by Elizabeth Tyasia
Plate Tectonics for Kids
Transitional activity into what we will be doing next in class:
starting activity, I will have children start off with three puzzles (the same
puzzle) in which children will need to place the continents together the way
they were over 200 million years ago. Children will also with the second puzzle
need to place the continents together as they are today, and their third puzzle
will be a prediction of how the continents will be in another 200 million years.
Prior to giving the children the puzzles, I will show the children a map of
today’s world and how it is formed today, they will also be given an example of
the Pangaea (they will be able to use this as a reference to try and guess how
the continents were connected). The puzzle assignment I will use shown in the
following link: (children will be able to color each of the continents as they
Homework Night Prior
Children will be given vocabulary prior to discussion of activity so that they have prior knowledge of the words and will know what these unfamiliar words mean. The vocabulary that the children will need to find definitions for are as follows (definitions will not be there they will need to find these in their books on their own) this will also be a time for children to finish their three puzzles if they haven’t finished once they have completed their vocabulary definitions:
Plate Tectonics Vocabulary
· Plate Tectonics- is a concept in which the crust of the Earth is considered to be brittle and is broken into several large pieces.
· Pangaea: a super continent that broke apart over 200 million years ago to form smaller continents
· Lithosphere: the area where the Earth’s crust and mantle bond together
· Divergent boundaries: when two fault lines pull apart
· Convergent boundaries: when two fault lines push against each other
· Subduction: when one plate is dragged beneath another one
· Transform boundary: when plates slide past one another
Day one of
discussion: Pangaea to modern day transformation
To start out with our discussion we will go over the vocabulary,
to ensure that the children have the correct definitions. We then move in the
discussion by talking to them about their puzzles that they completed during
their transitional activity time. Now that we have covered some of the
vocabulary that will be talked throughout our lesson we can now begin to explain
how our earth was created and why it happened.
of the idea of Plate tectonics also known as Continental Drift was
Wegener he came up with this idea because “During his time there
he gained an interest in the ancient history of the Earth's continents and their
placement after noticing in 1910 that the eastern coast of South America and the
northwestern coast of Africa looked like they were once connected. In 1911
Wegener also came across several scientific documents stating that there were
identical fossils of plants and animals on each of these continents and he
claimed that all of the Earth's continents were at one time connected into one
large supercontinent. In 1912 he presented the idea of "continental
displacement" which would later become known as continental drift to explain how
the continents moved toward and away from one another throughout the Earth's
Looking at your puzzles of the Pangaea and todays continents what can you see is different?
Why do you think it is different today than it was before?
Earth is made up of several layers we have the inner core, the
core, mantel, and the crust also known as the Lithosphere.
As the Earth’s core heats up it pushes against the Lithosphere allowing for the pressure to push a break apart allowing for the magma from the core to release and cool forming land masses.
These seven continents were once referred to as a “Super continent” called a Pangaea along with a single ocean called Panthalassa: This is how your puzzle of Pangaea should look like.
About two-hundred million years ago the continents began to separate forming the seven different continents that we have today, and also creating the different oceans, Indian and Atlantic Ocean: this is how your continents today puzzle should look.
As earth's plates continue to change the continents will continue to change therefore we may find that the land masses will be in different places or further apart or maybe we will find ourselves as apart of another super continent of Pangaea II.
Plate Tectonics Experiment: Transformation, Convergent, Divergent boundaries
Children will have all materials need for experiment as we go through the video together and pausing throughout each definition we will talk about them and complete the experiments as we go along. Children will also need to write down their findings in their science notebooks in order to reference them later.
are when the plates slide past one another the most famous
transform boundary is the San Andres Fault.
Convergent Boundaries are the plates are coming towards one another. When the two plates collide the thinner own while be pushed down under the mantle which is called subduction. An example of this would be the Washington- Oregon coastline:
are when the plates are moving away from each other an example of this would be
the Mid Atlantic Ridge: