Plate Tectonics

Lyle Hercularis pushing along

This unit teaches students why some
landforms are located in certain regions and
why we have earthquakes.



  • Students will see how river channels change.
  • Students will be shown how different valleys are formed.
  • Instructors will explain how fan shaped landforms are made.
  • Students will be shown how rocks react to different tectonic forces.
  • Instructors will explain how plateaus are formed.
  • Using all information about landforms, students will play the classic memory game.


1. Cracking Crustal Questions: Discusses different plate compositions and the boundaries that are associated with plate interactions. This activity is a presentation for the class or small groups.

2. Floating Continents: Introduces one explanation of how plates move.This is a demonstrative activity to be performed in front of the class or in small groups with teacher supervision.

3. Puzzling Plate Tectonics: Uses old ideas and data to understand how scientists developed the plate tectonics theory. The activity uses those ideas and allows students to realize on their own what scientists of the past realized about crustal plates.

4. Whose Fault is it?: Presents three major fault types and allows students to use props to discover different fault interactions.

5. Surfing Rock Waves: Discusses how rocks behave when reacting to nearby earthquakes. Students to use common objects to experiment with two motions associated with earthquakes.

6. Shaking and Quaking: Allows students to create a device for monitoring earthquake movement of a high scale.

7. Creating Flat Topped Mountains: Discusses how plateaus can be formed by plate tectonics and erosion. It allows students to see how plate interactions result in large scale landforms.

8. Building Mountains: Allows students to create mountains by applying forces on foam and blocks.

9. Earth's Pimple Problem: Teaches how volcanoes are formed and the three volcano types.


GEODETECTIVE Home - Plate Tectonics Discovery Chest - Plate Tectonics Kid's Page

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Last updated: February 24, 2015

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