Standard 6: Earth Structures

The scientific theory of plate tectonics provides the framework for much of modern geology. Over geologic time, internal and external sources of energy have continuously altered the features of Earth by means of both constructive and destructive forces. All life, including human civilization, is dependent on Earth's internal and external energy and material resources.
General Information
Number: SC.912.E.6
Title: Earth Structures
Type: Standard
Subject: Science
Grade: 912
Body of Knowledge: Earth and Space Science

Related Benchmarks

This cluster includes the following benchmarks.

Related Access Points

This cluster includes the following access points.

Independent

SC.912.E.6.In.1
Describe the three layers of Earth (core, mantle, and crust).
SC.912.E.6.In.2
Describe examples of surface features, such as glaciers, valleys, canyons, and dried riverbeds, which are caused by wind and erosion (surface processes).
SC.912.E.6.In.3
Relate a cause and effect of movements in Earth’s crust (plate tectonics), such as fault lines in the plates causing earthquakes.
SC.912.E.6.In.4
Identify natural geological processes that change the land and water in Florida, including beach erosion and sinkholes.

Supported

SC.912.E.6.Su.1
Recognize the three layers of Earth (core, mantle, and crust).
SC.912.E.6.Su.2
Identify types of surface features, such as hills and valleys.
SC.912.E.6.Su.3
Recognize that Earth’s crust is broken into parts (plates) that move and cause mountains and volcanoes.
SC.912.E.6.Su.4
Recognize examples of natural changes to Florida’s land and water, such as beach erosion.

Participatory

SC.912.E.6.Pa.1
Identify a surface feature of Earth, such as a hill.
SC.912.E.6.Pa.2
Recognize that the surface of Earth can change.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this topic.

Formative Assessment

Analyzing the theory of plate tectonics performance task assessment:

This is a performance task assessment that allows for assessment of student knowledge of the plate tectonic theory. This task requires students to write a RAFT.

Type: Formative Assessment

Lesson Plans

Lesson 1: Introduction to Oceanography & Remote Sensing:

This lesson covers:

•How the ocean moves and why it is important to all life on Earth

•Different geologic features in the ocean and how they impact currents

•How the Earth and ocean are studied by satellites and remote sensing

•How to use a web based program to interpret real world satellite data

Type: Lesson Plan

Sea Ice Analysis:

The changing climate is an important topic for both scientific analysis and worldly knowledge. This lesson uses data collected by the National Snow and Ice Data Center to create and use mathematical models as a predictive tool and do critical analysis of sea ice loss.

Type: Lesson Plan

Sea Level Rise: The Ocean's Uplifting Experience:

The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to the concept of sea level rise as it occurs through climate change by having them examine 3 specific parameters:  ice distribution, thermal expansion, and analyzing and interpreting data.  The lesson and activities within the lesson were designed using the three dimensions of the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards – specifically crosscutting concepts, science and engineering practices, and disciplinary core ideas. While there isn’t any required pre-requisite learning required for this lesson, a general understanding of sea-level rise, glaciers, and climate may be beneficial to students. During classroom breaks, pairs of students will develop/discuss their models, revise their interpretations of their models or data, and think-pair-share their thoughts on the investigation segments.

Type: Lesson Plan

Gr 9-12. Environmental Factors of the Everglades, Lesson 2: Parallels:

Students trace the latitude of the Everglades and different locations around the world, comparing the weather, climate, and other environmental factors of the K-O-E watershed with those of other land masses on or near the 28th parallel. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Gr 9-12. Environmental Factors of the Everglades, Lesson 3: Survival:

Students will learn about Everglades ecosystems as they “travel” through the plant communities of the Everglades watershed. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Earthquake Structures and the Richter Scale:

In this engineering design challenge, students will build an earthquake-proof structure out of spaghetti and marshmallows and then test them with an earthquake shake table. Students will research earthquake damage and how designs have changed with our new technologies and our understanding of earthquakes. After testing and research, students will prepare and present a final presentation on their findings. They will also explore the use of the Richter scale as a measurement of earthquake intensity. This is a culminating activity for a unit on Earth's forces. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Land Formation-Rotation-Stations:

Students will learn about sinkholes, aquifers, sand dunes, lakes, springs and sea level changes in this rotational activity. Students will work in small groups and complete a short web-quest with a demo or small project.

Type: Lesson Plan

Plate Tectonics Games & Dream Vacation:

Students will love the copious amounts of plate tectonics review games in this lesson. They will also create their dream vacations by making their own Tectonic Travel Itinerary!

Type: Lesson Plan

When North Becomes South:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article explains how the National Science Foundation (NSF) is using some of their ships and equipment to study the magnetic properties of the ocean floor. The data they collect will help them better understand the phenomenon known as geomagnetic reversal. The article also includes a brief explanation of what geomagnetic reversal is. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Making of the Ocean Floor:

This is a 5-E lesson exploring the ocean floor features and how each feature formed. The objective is to explain that the ocean floor is dynamic and has changed over the years. It involves the understanding that tectonic plates impact the oceanic plates and continental plates. It also address the other processes that change the ocean floor. It includes the use of technology, Google Earth, hands-on inquiry, and guided research.

Type: Lesson Plan

Predicting Tectonic Activity using Earthquakes:

Students will predict plate movement by analyzing earthquake patterns from earthquake coordinate locations they have plotted on a map and comparing those patterns to animated earthquakes distribution in years 2011 and 2014.  
 

Type: Lesson Plan

The Science of Sinkholes:

In this lesson, students investigate how sinkholes form, identify sinkholes that have filled with water and are now permanent water features, and find relationships between geology, natural processes, and sinkhole formation in Florida.

Type: Lesson Plan

Investigating Earthquakes with Google Earth:

Students will explore the relationship between earthquakes and the tectonic plate boundaries using Google Earth. Students will track earthquakes noting location, magnitude and date. Students will apply their findings to formulate an understanding the processes that shape the earth.

Type: Lesson Plan

Formation of Oceanic Features:

This is a picture inquiry based lesson for students to explore four specific oceanic features (mid-ocean ridge, trench, seamount, and continental shelf). Groups of three students will observe and explain features found in pictures and share ideas with their peers.

Type: Lesson Plan

Relating Surface Area and Volume:

Students will recognize that while the surface area may change, the volume can remain the same. This lesson is enhanced through the multimedia CPALMS Perspectives Video, which introduces students to the relationship between surface area and volume.

Type: Lesson Plan

Original Student Tutorials

Earth's Layers Part 2:

Learn about seismic waves and how they interact with and impact Earth's layers in this interactive tutorial.

This is part 2 of a two-part series. Click HERE to view part 1.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Earth's Layers Part 1:

Learn to identify Earth's internal layers and their physical and chemical characteristics with this interactive tutorial.

This is part 1 of 2-part series, click HERE to view part 2 [COMING SOON].

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Perspectives Video: Experts

Coastline Geology:

Christopher Williams, Coastal Geologist, talks about the characteristics of coastlines.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Coastlines of Florida:

Christopher Williams discusses the different types of coastlines that are found in Florida.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Where are the fish?:

Dean Grubbs discusses where fish populations are found and the ocean features that are present around Florida.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Why did we throw it away?:

Dean Grubbs explains how different types of trash, like plastics, ends up in the ocean and how they become a detriment to marine life.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Karst Geology:

Geologist Harley Means discusses the characteristics of karst geology.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Human Impact on the Ocean:

Dean Grubbs explains the ways in which humans can impact the ocean.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Velocity of the Aucilla River:

Harley Means discusses the mathematical methods hydrologists use to calculate the velocity of rivers.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Sea Level Assessment using Tide Gauges and Satellites :

Physical oceanographer Gary Mitchum explains how and why tide gauges and satellites are useful for understanding sea level changes. Video funded by NSF grant #: OCE-1502753.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Satellite Technology for Investigating Ice Sheet Mass and Sea Level Changes:

In this video, Don Chambers explains how satellite technology is essential for assessment of sea level changes. Video funded by NSF grant #: OCE-1502753.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Remote Measurement of Ice Sheet Mass via Satellite:

Watch as Don Chambers explains the role of satellites in measuring the mass of ice sheets and the connections between ice sheet mass changes and sea level. Video funded by NSF grant #: OCE-1502753.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Assessment of Sea Level by Sediment Core Sampling and Analysis:

Watch as Brad Rosenheim, a geological oceanographer, explains how modern technology and sampling methods are used for sea level research. Video funded by NSF grant #: OCE-1502753.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Assessment of Past and Present Rates of Sea Level Change:

In this video, Brad Rosenheim describes how Louisiana sediment cores are used to estimate sea level changes over the last 10,000 years. Video funded by NSF grant #: OCE-1502753.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Assessment of Antarctic Ice Sheet Movement Rate by Sediment Core Sampling:

Eugene Domack, a geological oceanographer, describes how sediment cores are collected and used to estimate rates of ice sheet movement in Antarctica. Video funded by NSF grant #: OCE-1502753.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Analyzing Antarctic Ice Sheet Movement to Understand Sea Level Changes:

In this video, Eugene Domack explains how past Antarctic ice sheet movement rates allow us to understand sea level changes. Video funded by NSF grant #: OCE-1502753.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiasts

Watershed:

Kent Koptiuch talks about watersheds and water quality.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Salvaging Timber from Riverbeds :

Coleman Mackie discusses the process of how he salvages pre-cut timbers from the bottom of river beds, the importance of ring density, buoyancy and the uses of the recovered logs.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Waste Reduction from Glass Art Fabrication:

Glass artist Russel Scaturro explains how fine control of gas flow aids efforts to minimize his carbon footprint toward a larger goal of environmentally-conscious fabrication methodology. 

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Oil Seeps in the Gulf of Mexico:

Immerse yourself in deep-sea geology to learn more about naturally-occurring oil seeps.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Modeling Plate Tectonics with Candy Bars:

Break new ground when you try this earth science lesson idea.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Text Resources

Geomagnetic Reversal: Understanding Ancient Flips and Flops in Earth's Polarity:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article discusses how the National Science Foundation (NSF) has been using one of their ships to gather information which scientists can use to explore the process of geomagnetic reversal. The article explains the basic concept of geomagnetic reversal and how the information gathered can help in understanding it. Finally, the article discusses several different roles that scientists have taken on in the NSF's ongoing operations.

Type: Text Resource

April Becomes First Month with Carbon Dioxide Levels Above 400 PPM:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article discusses a troublesome milestone in climate science: the CO2 levels in Earth's atmosphere stayed above 400 ppm for the entire month of April 2014. The article discusses the significance of this measurement and how CO2 levels impact the atmosphere.

Type: Text Resource

Yellowstone National Park is a Volcano:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article tells the geologic history of Yellowstone, the volcano. It describes the basic "hot spot" premise and the features resulting from a hot spot in the middle of a continental plate. The article is reassuring about the future of Yellowstone—as it points out, there is no imminent danger, just fascinating geology!

Type: Text Resource

New Magma Layer Found Deep in Earth's Mantle?:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. The National Geographic article discusses models and theories that shed new light on the structure of Earth's layers, including new evidence to suggest a molten later of rock trapped deep in the Earth's mantle.

Type: Text Resource

Introduction to Sedimentary Rock:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. The article describes how sedimentary rocks are destroyed and created through the rock cycle via the processes of weathering, transportation, sorting, and deposition.

Type: Text Resource

Electrocution: New Way to Erode Mountains:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article explains how lightning impacts a mountain's shape and magnetic charge.

Type: Text Resource

How Sinkholes Form:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. This article discusses how sinkholes form, ways to recognize impending sinkholes, and ways to prevent them.

Type: Text Resource

Tutorial

Erosion and Deposition:

This tutorial for student audiences covers information about erosion and deposition including the factors related to these conditions. The tutorial also briefly covers the Geologic cycle.

Type: Tutorial

Video/Audio/Animations

Plate Tectonics:

This short informational text, diagrams, a video, and guided questions from the CK-12 Foundation discusses plate motions and the role of convection.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

MIT BLOSSOMS - Can Earthquakes Be Predicted?:

This learning video uses a simple analog setup to explore why earthquakes are so unpredictable. The setup is simple enough that students should be able to assemble and operate it on their own with a teacher's supervision. The teaching approach used in this module is known as the 5E approach, which stands for Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Elaboration, and Evaluation. Over the course of this lesson, the basic mechanisms that give rise to the behavior of the simple analog system are explained, and further elaboration helps the students to apply their understanding of the analog system to complex fault systems that cause earthquakes. It is important that students be familiar with the following prerequisite concepts before beginning the module: earth's interior structure, plate tectonics and plate motions, properties of Earth materials, and faults and fault motions. This lesson can be completed in 50 minutes if the basic materials for construction of the analog setup are compiled prior to getting started in class. Materials needed include: two 4" x 4" wooden blocks; two screw eyes, 12x1-3/16" ; one 4"x36" sanding belt (50 Grit); one 1/3 Sheet of sandpaper (60 Grit); one rubber band; 16" of duct tape; one fabric tape measurement ; one pair of scissors; and one hot glue gun. This interactive lesson incorporates two primary types of activities during the breaks between video segments: Analog setup exploration and Guided discussions. The lesson described in this video module has been adapted from activities developed by Hubenthal, M., Braile, L., Taber, J. (2008) Redefining earthquakes and the earthquake machine. The Science Teacher, 75(1), 32-36.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Virtual Manipulative

Seismic Activity - Enrichment/Extension:

Enrichment Learning Activity - Seismic Activity

Benchmark: : Analyze the scientific theory of plate tectonics and identify related major processes and features as a result of moving plates.

Essential Question: How do features on the Earth help us know about the geologic past?

Instructions:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/seismic-fault.html

Click on the launch interactive link. Use the website to allow students to come up with connections about seismic measurements and what they determine. Students can move the mouse over the picture of "'Find the Fault". Click on the highlighted sections to find out information about each geologic feature.

Suggested questions for students:

  1. What does the vertical axis represent?
  2. What does the horizontal axis represent?
  3. How did geophysicists collect the data?
  4. Why does the fault line located in Tennessee/Kentucky region create about 200 earthquakes per year when it is over 1,000 miles from the nearest tectonic plate boundary?
  5. Why does this relatively flat region host earthquakes?

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this topic.

Original Student Tutorials

Earth's Layers Part 2:

Learn about seismic waves and how they interact with and impact Earth's layers in this interactive tutorial.

This is part 2 of a two-part series. Click HERE to view part 1.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Earth's Layers Part 1:

Learn to identify Earth's internal layers and their physical and chemical characteristics with this interactive tutorial.

This is part 1 of 2-part series, click HERE to view part 2 [COMING SOON].

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Lesson Plan

Sea Level Rise: The Ocean's Uplifting Experience:

The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to the concept of sea level rise as it occurs through climate change by having them examine 3 specific parameters:  ice distribution, thermal expansion, and analyzing and interpreting data.  The lesson and activities within the lesson were designed using the three dimensions of the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards – specifically crosscutting concepts, science and engineering practices, and disciplinary core ideas. While there isn’t any required pre-requisite learning required for this lesson, a general understanding of sea-level rise, glaciers, and climate may be beneficial to students. During classroom breaks, pairs of students will develop/discuss their models, revise their interpretations of their models or data, and think-pair-share their thoughts on the investigation segments.

Type: Lesson Plan

Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Oil Seeps in the Gulf of Mexico:

Immerse yourself in deep-sea geology to learn more about naturally-occurring oil seeps.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Tutorial

Erosion and Deposition:

This tutorial for student audiences covers information about erosion and deposition including the factors related to these conditions. The tutorial also briefly covers the Geologic cycle.

Type: Tutorial

Video/Audio/Animation

Plate Tectonics:

This short informational text, diagrams, a video, and guided questions from the CK-12 Foundation discusses plate motions and the role of convection.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this topic.

Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Oil Seeps in the Gulf of Mexico:

Immerse yourself in deep-sea geology to learn more about naturally-occurring oil seeps.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Tutorial

Erosion and Deposition:

This tutorial for student audiences covers information about erosion and deposition including the factors related to these conditions. The tutorial also briefly covers the Geologic cycle.

Type: Tutorial