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6.1: Chapter 6: Plate Tectonics

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Chapter Overview

This chapter describes properties of earth’s interior, continental drift, seafloor spreading, the theory of plate tectonics, and types of plate boundaries.

Online Resources

See the following Web sites for appropriate laboratory activities:

The inquiry lab at the URL below guides students through the history of continental drift. Students will gather evidence and use scientific reasoning to reconstruct Pangaea. They will also propose their own mechanism for how drift occurs.

In the following lab, students will use actual data from historic oceanographic cruises to examine sea floor spreading. They will also model sea floor spreading at a spreading center such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The lab involves plotting data on a diagram, drawing conclusions from the data, and making predictions.

With the “Musical Plates” problem-solving lab at the URL below, students use real-time earthquake and volcano data from the Internet to explore the relationship between these types of geologic activity and tectonic plate interactions.

These Web sites may also be helpful:

If you want to review chapter content, especially plate tectonics, read the excellent USGS publication called This Dynamic Earth (see URL below).

You can find links to many Web sites that deal with plate tectonics at this URL: http://www.tectonicplate.com/resource/

For videos about seafloor spreading and plate tectonics, try those listed below.

Pacing the Lessons

Lesson Class Period(s) (60 min)
6.1 Inside Earth 1.5
6.2 Continental Drift 1.0
6.3 Seafloor Spreading 1.0
6.4 Theory of Plate Tectonics 2.5

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