We started our lesson with a video that we were required to make for PBI, that set the parameters of what we were going to teach in the classroom.
1. Our first activity was directed at learning the basics of plate tectonics. This activity can be found on Open Learn and is directed towards an easier way to learn about the the activities we taught. The link to the activity can be found here.
State standards: Gather, analyze, and communicate data that explains Earth’s plates, plate motions, and the results of plate motions (DOK 1-2)
⦁ Identify, interpret, and explain models of plates motions on Earth (DOK 1-3)
⦁ Use maps to locate likely geologic “hot spots”, using evidence of earthquakes and volcanic activity
Evaluate evidence that Earth’s geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere interact as a complex system
The students would complete their actions on the website and fill out a worksheet that related to the state standards.
2. We also performed a Hot Cocoa experiment to help convey the process of convection currents. This involved bringing in corningware, hot cocoa powder, and milk. The experiment was performed during class. We placed the corningware on a hot plate with the top on. We used a camera to display the results of the experiment. We placed the milk into the container first and then the cocoa was spread around on top. As the milk started to heat, the cocoa began to crack (representing the plates moving due to convection currents). We did not allow the students to consume the after products.
State Standard: The students visualized how convection currents constantly work below the earth’s surface in the mantle.
A video of the experiment can be found here.
3. We created cootie catchers as a fun activity for the students to learn plate tectonics.
State Standard: Major geologic events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, mid-ocean ridges, and mountain formation are associated with plate boundaries and attributed to plate motions
We accomplished this by making four stations, each a different geological feature. We made four stations with each of us having the geological feature either drawn or written on the opening flap. When the students opened up that flap we had them write what type of boundary caused it and and how convection currents correlated with it.
4. Our final activity was a worksheet with three questions. Each team, consisting of three students, had to answer the questions. Each student answered one question and then shared their findings with the other two. This allowed each student to fully grasp the concepts of one question and then explain their findings with the other group members. This worksheet was the basis for the video we wanted the students to create. As a result, this activity took the most time. We used this activity to let the students explore the concepts for this unit. They had the information and the roadmap to succeed. They needed to discover the information on their own.
Computer models and simulations help us understand and make informed decisions about major geologic events.
⦁ Building codes and emergency plans often reflect natural threats in an area.
Nature of Science:
⦁ Construct a model to demonstrate how plate movement results in geologic events. (DOK 2-3)
⦁ Trace the development of a scientific theory using the theory of plate tectonics. (DOK 2-3)
⦁ Describe the ethical traditions of science: value peer review; truthful reporting of methods and outcomes; making work public; and sharing a lens of professional skepticism when reviewing the work of others. (DOK 1)
⦁ Describe the geologic time scale and why it is used (DOK 1)
⦁ Identify and describe the impact of major geologic events on life on Earth (DOK 1)
⦁ Identify and describe major events in Earth’s geologic history (DOK 1)
⦁ Use direct and indirect evidence to determine the sequence of events in geologic time (DOK 1-2) Inquiry Questions:
⦁ How can we interpret data from layers of rock?
⦁ What is geologic time?
5. For our final exam, questions were directed towards basic plate tectonics, which enabled the students to understand and grasp the answers. This was an accumulation of everything we had taught throughout this unit. Each station that we created was a fun, simple, and an interactive way for the students to show their understanding of the plate tectonic unit.