Ch 4: Plate Tectonics Lesson Plans & Activities

About This Chapter

Use these materials to build well-designed, interesting lessons on plate tectonics for your students. You will find lesson plan outlines, related lessons, project ideas and activities that will help you make your lessons fun and exciting.

Plate Tectonics Lesson Plans & Activities - Chapter Summary

This chapter contains a comprehensive array of resources that you can use to teach your students about plate tectonics, continental drift, and related topics. The materials included here enable you to create a strong syllabus, enhance your current curriculum in geology, and keep your students inspired and engaged. By adding these useful and helpful tools to your repertoire, you can enhance your overall teaching strategy and maximize your class time. You can use these resources to develop:

  • Comprehensive lessons on the theory and definition of plate tectonics
  • Group or individual projects illustrating plate tectonics
  • Classwork on the definition, description and theory surrounding Pangaea
  • Projects on Pangaea and continental drift

How It Helps

  • Learning objectives: Assists you in ensuring that your students meet learning objectives related to the study of plate tectonics
  • Individual and group projects: Includes suggestions for projects on continental drift and Pangaea that students can work on either alone or with others
  • Homework or classwork suggestions: Provides materials that you can use as a springboard to develop your own assignments on plate tectonics that students can complete in class or at home

How It Works

This helpful resource offers teachers lesson plan outlines with relevant tools to make planning lessons on plate tectonics easy.

  • Find lesson plans for specific plate tectonics topics you want to cover in class.
  • Formulate your plate tectonics class outline using the suggested classroom tools offered in the lesson plans.
  • Share the related plate tectonics lessons for each lesson plan with students in class to make learning fun and engaging.
  • Use related lesson quizzes to ensure your students understand the most important concepts from your lessons on plate tectonics.
  • Engage your students with relevant plate tectonics -related activities, discussion questions or other materials found in the lesson plan outline.

30 Lessons in Chapter 4: Plate Tectonics Lesson Plans & Activities
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Plate Tectonics Lesson Plan

1. Plate Tectonics Lesson Plan

Let your students be geologists for the day while studying plate tectonics. Teach basic theories and the layers of the earth, then guide students through hands-on application during an activity.

Plate Tectonics: Theory & Definition

2. Plate Tectonics: Theory & Definition

Plate tectonics describes the internal workings of our planet. Using it allows geologists to explain a wide range of geologic features and processes. You will learn the basics about the theory in this lesson.

Plate Tectonics Project Ideas

3. Plate Tectonics Project Ideas

Need some ideas for projects students can do to help them understand plate tectonics? This lesson offers some ideas that can help you bring this topic alive in the classroom.

Pangaea Lesson Plan

4. Pangaea Lesson Plan

Teach your students the concept of Pangaea with this lesson plan that includes a video lesson, discussion questions, two geography activities and a quiz.

What is Pangaea? - Theory & Definition

5. 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.

Pangaea Project Ideas

6. Pangaea Project Ideas

It's hard to believe the continents move, but this series of fun, hands-on team projects gives students a glimpse of what the earth looked like over 200 million years ago, while allowing them to learn about continental drift.

Continental Drift Activities

7. Continental Drift Activities

This lesson offers group and individual activities to allow students to get actively engaged in investigating continental drifts. These activities help students explore the past, present and future of land mass movement.

Plate Tectonics Classroom Activities

8. Plate Tectonics Classroom Activities

While for science teachers plate tectonics may have gotten you excited in school, we have to remember that is not always the case for the students in our classroom. These activities should help to avoid getting glassy looks and make this topic more fun for students.

Volcano Lesson Plan for Elementary School

9. Volcano Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Most students are naturally interested in volcanoes. This two-day lesson plan uses two text lessons about volcanoes to teach students about geology, while having fun with hands-on activities and games.

Why Do Volcanoes Erupt? - Lesson for Kids

10. Why Do Volcanoes Erupt? - Lesson for Kids

If you have ever wondered why volcanoes erupt, this lesson is for you! You will learn about some of the events that lead to a volcanic eruption. As you will see, not all eruptions are alike.

How Are Volcanoes Formed? Lesson for Kids

11. How Are Volcanoes Formed? Lesson for Kids

Volcanoes are one of Earth's most magnificent land features. In this lesson, you'll learn about volcanoes, how they're formed, what's inside them, and why some volcanoes look different than others.

Magmatism Project Ideas

12. Magmatism Project Ideas

Students are often excited to learn about volcanoes, and this series of lab-based projects uses volcanoes to learn about the properties that impact how magma behaves while building on math, inquiry and science skills.

Earthquake Lesson Plan for Elementary School

13. Earthquake Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Teach your students what an earthquake is, how they happen, and other interesting facts with this lesson plan. A text lesson anchors learning and activities reinforce learning. Test understanding with a quick quiz.

Earthquakes Lesson for Kids

14. Earthquakes Lesson for Kids

Did you know the earth can feel stressed? When it feels too much stress, it sometimes shakes, causing what is known as an earthquake. In this lesson, we'll discuss these natural disasters, including what an earthquake is, how an earthquake occurs, and other interesting facts about earthquakes.

Richter Scale Lesson Plan

15. Richter Scale Lesson Plan

Your students are going to enjoy their time learning about the Richter scale as they watch an interesting video explaining the scale, create flipbooks, and take a quiz.

Using the Richter Scale to Measure Earthquakes

16. Using the Richter Scale to Measure Earthquakes

In this video lesson, you will learn about earthquake magnitude and how it is measured. You will also learn how that relates to the amount of energy released during an earthquake, as well as how common different magnitude earthquakes are around the world.

Plate Tectonics Lesson Plan for Elementary School

17. Plate Tectonics Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Take a peek beneath the earth's surface and teach students about plate tectonics with this lesson plan. Students will read a text lesson and complete hands-on activities to increase understanding and make ideas stick.

Plate Tectonics: Lesson for Kids

18. Plate Tectonics: Lesson for Kids

The surface of the Earth is always moving, although very slowly. Plate tectonics explains how the continents have moved over time and what causes many earthquakes and volcanoes. In this lesson, learn even more about plate tectonics!

Seafloor Spreading Lesson Plan

19. Seafloor Spreading Lesson Plan

If you are discussing continent movements, this lesson plan explores seafloor spreading. Students will watch a video, participate in discussion questions, complete an activity and take a quiz.

Seafloor Spreading: Theory & Definition

20. Seafloor Spreading: Theory & Definition

Seafloor spreading is a part of plate tectonics. Its discovery provided a mechanism for continental drift that Alfred Wegener could not explain. In this lesson, you will learn about this important geologic process.

Ring of Fire Lesson Plan

21. Ring of Fire Lesson Plan

The Ring of Fire can be an interesting concept to study, and your students will enjoy doing so as they watch a video, complete a group project and take a quiz.

What Is the Ring of Fire? - Definition, Facts & Location

22. What Is the Ring of Fire? - Definition, Facts & Location

The Ring of Fire has produced the world's most destructive and active volcanoes, not to mention most of the world's earthquakes. Read on to find out just what the Ring of Fire is and the volcanoes it has created throughout the planet's history.

Ocean Floor Lesson Plan

23. Ocean Floor Lesson Plan

Educate your students about the fascinating ocean floor with this lesson plan. They will study a text lesson, participate in three related activities, and take a follow-up quiz to check their comprehension.

Ocean Floor: Definition & Features

24. Ocean Floor: Definition & Features

The ocean floor may be more exciting to explore than any mountain above sea level. Read this lesson to learn about what you'll see on the ocean floor from abysses and slopes to hydrothermal vent ecosystems.

Mountains Lesson Plan for Elementary School

25. Mountains Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Teach your students about different types of mountains and how they're formed with this lesson plan. After reading a text lesson, students will apply learning to activities and discussions before taking a quiz.

How are Mountains Formed? - Lesson for Kids

26. How are Mountains Formed? - Lesson for Kids

Did you ever wonder how mountains are formed? As it turns out, Earth's crust is made up of over 50 plates (not the kind we eat off of) that push and pull away from each other at about 1 inch per year. That pushing and pulling of those plates is the basis for how mountains are formed.

Tectonic Plate Boundaries Lesson Plan

27. Tectonic Plate Boundaries Lesson Plan

Teachers may use this lesson plan to teach students about tectonic plate boundaries. Students will learn vocabulary related to plate tectonic theory and create models that demonstrate plate movement.

Causes of Tectonic Plate Movement Lesson Plan

28. Causes of Tectonic Plate Movement Lesson Plan

Tectonic plate movement has been changing the surface of the earth for a very long time. Your students will learn more about tectonic plate movement as they watch a video and create flipbooks for each type of movement.

Plate Tectonics Unit Plan

29. Plate Tectonics Unit Plan

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.

Earthquakes Unit Plan

30. Earthquakes Unit Plan

Shake things up in your middle school classroom with this interactive earthquake unit! Introduce the topic within a natural disaster framework, build knowledge with hands-on activities and games, explore advanced concepts, and complete projects.

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