Unit 4 Plate Tectonics

TeacherMelinda Senf
Subject AreaScience
Grade Level7th
Week #10-30-17 to 11-21-17
Unit of InstructionLayers of the Earth & Plate Tectonics
Standard(s) Taught

Describe the layers of the solid Earth, including the lithosphere, the hot convecting mantle, and the dense metallic liquid and solid cores.

Identify the benefits and limitations of the use of scientific models.

Explore the scientific theory of plate tectonics by describing how the movement of Earth’s crustal plates causes both slow and rapid changes in Earth’s surface, including volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and mountain building.

Recognize and explain the difference between theories and laws and give several examples of scientific theories and the evidence that supports them.

Recognize that heat flow and movement of material within Earth causes earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and creates mountains and ocean basins.

Identify an instance from the history of science in which scientific knowledge has changed when new evidence or new interpretations are encountered.

Explain that empirical evidence is the cumulative body of observations of a natural phenomenon on which scientific explanations are based.

1. discuss the development of plate tectonic theory, which is derived from the combination of two theories: continental drift and seafloor spreading
2. explain the origin of geologic features and processes that result from plate tectonics (e.g. earthquakes, volcanoes, trenches, mid-ocean ridges, island arcs and chains, hot spots, earthquake distribution, tsunamis, mountain ranges)
3. investigate plate tectonics using models

Analyze the scientific theory of plate tectonics and identify related major processes and features as a result of moving plates



Learning Targets and Learning Criteria

Students will:
• identify and describe the layers of the Earth, including:
o crust, lithosphere, hot convecting mantle, the outer liquid core, and high-pressure inner solid core
• identify the layer of the Earth that has convection currents resulting in plate tectonics
• differentiate the density differences between the layers of the Earth
• build a model of the Earth’s Layers based on characteristics of the layer

Students will:
• describe the Theory of Plate Tectonics
o cite examples of physical evidence that supports the Theory of Plate Tectonics

• explain how convection currents (heat flow) cause Earth’s crustal plates to move, including:
o convergent, divergent, and transform boundaries
• describe how the movement of crustal plates can cause changes to Earth’s surface
o earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, ocean basins, and mountain building
• explain the role of subduction in plate movement
• differentiate slow and rapid changes to the Earth’s surface, such as:
o mountain building vs. earthquakes
• explain and give examples of how scientific knowledge has changed when new evidence or new interpretations are encountered
o examples: continental drift, Theory of Plate Tectonics, and Pangaea
• describe the benefits and limits of scientific models
o for example, Wegener’s model of continental drift

Classroom Activities

Word Triangles

Layers of the Earth model with clay.

Pangaea Puzzle

Layers of the Earth Foldable

Layers of the Earth reading

Earthquake reading

Edible Plate Tectonics lab.

Assignments Due

Edible Plate Tectonics Lab

Plate Tectonics Project 11/16/17 and 11/17/17

DIA 11/20/17 & 11/21/17

Layers of the Earth Foldable

Additional Resources

Bill Nye

Mr. Parr

Mariana Trench Documentary