Stressed to a Fault!


Eighth graders describe how stress builds up in the Earth's crust by the movement of tectonic plates. In groups, they relate the three types of stresses to the types of plate movements and explain how the stress causes faults to form. They create their own models to demonstrate the plate movements.

Resource Details

Instructional Design
Project-Based Learning
1 hr

Heat Up the Floating Plates

Eighth graders investigate the moving of the Earth's plates. In this lithospheric plate movement activity, 8th graders investigation the connection between the moving of the Earth's plates and the convection currents within the mantle.

Investigation of Plate Boundaries

Demonstrate the movement of lithospheric plates due to convection in Earth's mantle. Learners then model the movements that occur along plate boundaries using colored clay. 

Plate Tectonics: Movin' and Shakin'

Students are introduced to the causes of plate movements and the hazards they present. They plot the location of 50 earthquakes and 50 volcanic eruptions on a map and explore the relationships between plate tectonics, earthquakes, and volcanoes. In the final activity, they test the effect of volcanic gases on the growth of plants.

Convection and Plate Motion

Students explore geology by completing a science worksheet in class. In this tectonic plate activity, students discuss how the Earth's plates move and what the impact of this movement often becomes. Students define the different layers and complete an Earth science worksheet. 

Forces That Shape the Earth: Plate Movement

In this tectonic plate activity, students learn about the movement of the plates that make up the earth's crust. They read about the Theory of Pangaea, lithosphere, divergence, convergence, and plate transformation. Students then answer 10 questions using the information they just learned. The answers are on the last page.

Surface Features and Plate Tectonics

Students differentiate transform, divergent and convergent motions. In this earth science lesson plan, students explain how geologists use these to analyze plate motion. They draw arrow on maps to represent the direction of plate movement.

Predicting Plate Movement

In this plate movement learning exercise, students review the 3 types of plate boundaries and predict where plates will be as they continue moving along their current path. This learning exercise has 2 short answer questions.

Exploring Plate Tectonics

In this plate tectonics worksheet, learners answer questions about plate movement, the types of boundaries, the history of Earth's crusts and plate tectonics. They use an on line source to get their answers.

Plate Tectonics

Students examine plate tectonics and landforms.  In this plate tectonics lesson students complete an activity. Students practice drawing maps that show different fault lines and the land formations that were caused.

Plate Tectonics

Students identify the three layers of the earth: core, mantle and crust. They demonstrate knowledge of the concepts of convergent and divergent motions of the earth and an understanding of plate tectonics.

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Lynn C.
As the International Teacher for Miina Härma Gumnaasium in Tartu, Estonia, I teach classes in English that include children from Estonia, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, and even Pakistan besides Britain and the United States. Lesson Planet helps me find many worksheets and lessons that feature hands-on activities, good graphic organizers, clear, simple language and diagrams, step-by-step math explanations. It is basically very useful for helping a teacher with a largely ESL population. Moreover, I must develop my own teaching materials since I follow the Estonian national curriculum PLUS the national standards of the students, which can be difficult to reconcile together -- never mind, trying to find a textbook that suits (and, I might add, English-language texts are not easily obtainable here).
Lynn C., Teacher
Wakefield, RI