SC.912.E.6.3

Analyze the scientific theory of plate tectonics and identify related major processes and features as a result of moving plates.
General Information
Subject Area: Science
Grade: 912
Body of Knowledge: Earth and Space Science
Idea: Level 3: Strategic Thinking & Complex Reasoning
Standard: 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.
Date Adopted or Revised: 02/08
Date of Last Rating: 05/08
Status: State Board Approved

Related Courses

This benchmark is part of these courses.
2002080: M/J Comprehensive Science 2, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2001020: M/J Earth/Space Science, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2001310: Earth/Space Science (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2001320: Earth/Space Science Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002400: Integrated Science 1 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002410: Integrated Science 1 Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
7920020: Access Earth/Space Science (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 and beyond (current))
7920025: Access Integrated Science 1 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 and beyond (current))
2002085: M/J Comprehensive Science 2 Accelerated Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002405: Integrated Science 1 for Credit Recovery (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2020 (course terminated))

Related Access Points

Alternate version of this benchmark for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
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.Su.3: Recognize that Earth’s crust is broken into parts (plates) that move and cause mountains and volcanoes.
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 benchmark.

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

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

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

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

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

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 Resource

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

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 benchmark.

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 benchmark.