About This Chapter
Who's it for?
This unit of our AP Environmental Science Homeschool course will benefit any student who is trying to learn about plate tectonics evidence and theories. There is no faster or easier way to learn about plate tectonics. Among those who would benefit are:
- Students who require an efficient, self-paced course of study to learn about the major tectonic plates of Earth's lithosphere.
- Homeschool parents looking to spend less time preparing lessons and more time teaching.
- Homeschool parents who need an environmental science curriculum that appeals to multiple learning types (visual or auditory).
- Gifted students and students with learning differences.
How it works:
- Students watch a short, fun video lesson that covers a specific unit topic.
- Students and parents can refer to the video transcripts to reinforce learning.
- Short quizzes and a plate tectonics unit exam confirm understanding or identify any topics that require review.
Plate Tectonics Unit Objectives:
- Give the definition of pangaea.
- Learn the details of Alfred Wegener's Theory of Continental Drift.
- Explore evidence for continental drift.
- Read about hot spots and paleomagnetism.
- Explore the reasons for tectonic plate movement.
- Discuss divergent, convergent and transform plate boundaries.
1. What is Pangaea? - Theory & Definition
The continents you know have existed for a long time, but not in their current locations. In fact, over 200 million years ago Pangaea broke apart by plate tectonic movement to form the continents we see today.
2. Plate Tectonics: A Unified Theory for Change of the Earth's Surface
After many years of trying to solve the mystery of the moving continents, enough data and evidence was collected to develop a unifying theory of how the surface of the earth changes. It's called plate tectonics.
3. Alfred Wegener's Theory of Continental Drift
People used to think that Earth was static, and that it never changed. Gradually, a body of evidence was gathered that made no sense in this model. Alfred Wegener, Geologic Supersleuth, laid the groundwork for a whole new theory for the large-scale changing nature of the earth.
4. Evidence for the Mechanism of Continental Drift
As scientists began to explore the ocean floor after World War II, they discovered many new clues to help them solve a mystery that had begun decades earlier - how the continents moved about on the surface of the earth.
5. Major Plates of the Lithosphere: Earth's Tectonic Plates
The outer shell of the earth, the lithosphere, is broken up into tectonic plates. The seven major plates are the African plate, Antarctic plate, Eurasian plate, Indo-Australian plate, North American plate, Pacific plate and South American plate.
6. Causes of Tectonic Plate Movement
In this lesson, we explore the causes of plate movement, including thermal convection, ridge push and slab pull. Students will learn how these processes complement each other and form a theory for tectonic plate movement.
7. Plate Boundaries: Convergent, Divergent, and Transform Boundaries
In the theory of plate tectonics, the earth's crust is broken into plates that move around relative to each other. As a result of this movement, three types of plate boundaries are formed: divergent, convergent, and transform boundaries.
8. Ocean Drilling as Evidence for Plate Tectonics
The Deep Sea Drilling Project extracted samples of the ocean floor that provided evidence to support the hypothesis of seafloor spreading and the theory of plate tectonics. Learn how these samples provided proof.
9. Paleomagnetism and Hot Spots: Evidence for Plate Tectonics
Paleomagnetism is the study of past magnetic fields. Hot spots are fixed pockets of heat that well up to form volcanic features. Learn how paleomagnetism and the study of hot spots provide evidence that supports the theory of plate tectonics.
10. Sea Floor Spreading and Polar Reversal
Sea floor spreading is the process by which new oceanic crust is formed by the upwelling of magma through diverging tectonic plates. Learn about the relationship between sea floor spreading and polar reversals detected on the ocean floor.
Earning College Credit
Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.
To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page
Transferring credit to the school of your choice
Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.
Other chapters within the AP Environmental Science: Homeschool Curriculum course
- Environmental Science Introduction: Homeschool Curriculum
- Geologic Time Scale: Homeschool Curriculum
- Earthquakes: Homeschool Curriculum
- Volcanoes: Homeschool Curriculum
- The Atmosphere and the Environment: Homeschool Curriculum
- Weather and Storms: Homeschool Curriculum
- Water Balance: Homeschool Curriculum
- Running Water: Homeschool Curriculum
- Ground Water: Homeschool Curriculum
- Glaciers: Homeschool Curriculum
- Oceans: Homeschool Curriculum
- Water Issues & Conservation: Homeschool Curriculum
- Minerals, Rocks & Soil: Homeschool Curriculum
- Ecosystems: Homeschool Curriculum
- Organism Interaction in the Ecosystem: Homeschool Curriculum
- Evolving Ecosystems: Homeschool Curriculum
- Biological Science: Homeschool Curriculum
- Population and the Environment: Homeschool Curriculum
- Food and Agricultural Resources: Homeschool Curriculum
- Forestry, Rangelands & Other Land Use: Homeschool Curriculum
- Mining & Fishing: Homeschool Curriculum
- Energy Concepts: Homeschool Curriculum
- Renewable Resources: Homeschool Curriculum
- Nonrenewable Resources: Homeschool Curriculum
- Solid and Hazardous Waste: Homeschool Curriculum
- Human Impact on the Environment: Homeschool Curriculum
- Environmental Sustainability: Homeschool Curriculum
- Global Environmental Economics: Homeschool Curriculum
- Environmental Ethics & Politics: Homeschool Curriculum