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Pangaea Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Anna Reinking

Anni taught elementary school for eight years and is currently teaching college. She received her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction.

This lesson will discuss the supercontinent known as Pangaea. In this lesson you will learn the history of Pangaea, the information scientists of gathered focused on Pangaea, and other interesting facts related to Pangaea.

Pangaea

What is Pangaea? Pangaea technically means the whole land. The Pangaea we will be talking about refers to the supercontinent that is believed to have included all of the landmasses around the world. Scientists believe that before the current layout of the world, actually millions of years before, that all of the landmasses were connected.

Why do scientists think there was one big supercontinent? Well, if you look at a picture of Pangaea you can see how the continents, or the main land masses of the world, such as North America and South America, fit together like a big puzzle.

Have you ever completed a puzzle? Sometimes they are hard to figure out, but scientists have worked very hard and figured out that the eastern coast of South America seems to have fit into the western coast of Africa. Additionally, if North America were rotated slightly from its current position it would fit perfectly into Europe and Asia.

Pangaea and Its Changes Over Time
Continental Drift

History

Who was the first scientist to propose this Pangaea theory? It was the German geologist and meteorologist Alfred Wegener. However, it did not start with the idea of Pangaea but rather the idea of what he called the continental drift, or the idea that the Earth's surface slowly moves apart because it is located on top of a liquid core.

The continental drift is related to the fact that the earth is made up of tectonic plates, or large, separate pieces of Earth's surface that are constantly moving, which causes natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanoes. Over millions of years these tectonic plates have caused Earth's continents to slowly drift away from each other, and it is still happening. This is the theory behind how Pangaea broke apart into the continents we have today.

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