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Plate Tectonics Unit Plan

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

With this unit plan, which can be used with students from upper elementary to high school level, the basics of plate tectonics are explored, along with an examination of Pangaea and continental drift. Student learning of these subjects is deepened through lessons and hands-on activities.

Plate Tectonics

While discovering what lies beneath us and understanding how it affects the natural world can be quite fascinating, plate tectonics can be a complex subject to cover with any age group of students. While younger students may only need a basic understanding of plate tectonics as well as an introduction to the results of plate tectonics, such as earthquakes and volcanoes, older students are most likely ready to explore the more in-depth concepts that affect plate tectonics. Using this unit plan, you can guide your students from the basic to the complex through engaging lessons and hands-on activities. You can challenge students to extend their learning by completing projects at the conclusion of the unit, as well.

Plate Tectonics Primer

With upper elementary students, the Plate Tectonics Lesson Plan for Elementary School provides the perfect introduction. Now that students have a basic understanding of plate tectonics, allow them to explore the results of plate tectonics. Use this Earthquake Lesson Plan for Elementary School in conjunction with this Volcano Lesson Plan for Elementary School and this Mountains Lesson Plan for Elementary School to both pique student interest and help them explore further the basics of plate tectonics. Incorporate these Plate Tectonics Activities for Kids to engage students in hands-on concept application.

With middle or high school students, use this Plate Tectonics Lesson Plan to explore the essential vocabulary and function of the concept. Extend student thinking further by including this Tectonic Plate Boundaries Lesson Plan that explores the theory of plate tectonics and how they move.

You can then delve more deeply into why tectonic plates move by incorporating this Causes of Tectonic Plate Movement Lesson Plan. Now is a great time to explore the effects of tectonic plate movement by engaging students in this Ring of Fire Lesson Plan.

Conclude this section by allowing students to engage in some hands-on learning by incorporating some Plate Tectonics Classroom Activities to both provide an opportunity for application and to prime their thinking in preparation for the next sequence of lessons.

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