Ch 2: Understanding Plate Tectonics

About This Chapter

How much does your middles schooler know about plate tectonics? Use the video lessons and assessment quizzes to help them review and test their knowledge of the vital forces that shape the surface of the earth.

Understanding Plate Tectonics - Chapter Summary

This chapter covers the essential topics related to plate tectonics. Students can learn about the theories of plate tectonics and continental drift, as well as plate boundaries and Pangaea. Topics are broken down into brief video lessons taught by our expert instructors, and each lesson is followed by a short, interactive quiz. These lessons and quizzes can be used by parents or teachers to make sure students have a working knowledge of the mechanisms of plate tectonics.

Lesson Objective
What is Pangaea? - Theory, Definition & Quiz Students can learn about the ancient continent of Pangaea.
Plate Tectonics: A Unified Theory for Change of the Earth's Surface This lesson discuss the theory of plate tectonics.
Alfred Wegener's Theory of Continental Drift Here, students can learn how continental drift has shaped the surface of the earth as we know it.
Evidence for the Mechanism of Continental Drift Explore the evidence that supports the theory of continental drift in these lessons.
Causes of Tectonic Plate Movement Examine why tectonic plates move.
Plate Boundaries: Convergent, Divergent, and Transform Boundaries Students look at the different types of plate boundaries.
Ocean Drilling as Evidence for Plate Tectonics This lesson discusses how ocean drilling has given us evidence of tectonic plates.

7 Lessons in Chapter 2: Understanding Plate Tectonics
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
What is Pangaea? - Theory & Definition

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.

Plate Tectonics: A Unified Theory for Change of the Earth's Surface

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.

Alfred Wegener's Theory of Continental Drift

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.

Evidence for the Mechanism of Continental Drift

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.

Causes of Tectonic Plate Movement

5. 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.

Plate Boundaries: Convergent, Divergent, and Transform Boundaries

6. 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.

Ocean Drilling as Evidence for Plate Tectonics

7. 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.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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