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# Unit Plan: Plate Tectonics

##### Big Ideas

The Theory of Plate Tectonics is the unifying theory that explains Earth’s geological processes.

Concepts:

• Convection
• Density
• Forces
• Theories
##### Essential Questions

Students will keep considering…

• How do plate interactions help to determine risk to humans and the environment?
• What causes the surface of the Earth to change?
• How does what we see today unveil the Earth’s past?
• How can we predict and understand changes to the surface of the Earth?
##### Evaluative Criteria
• An accurate explanation of how earthquakes develop
• An accurate understanding of the processes under the Earth’s crust
• Interpreting information from data to support their arguments
• The use of multiple representations (diagrams, tables, graphs, etc…) to support their understanding of the topic
• The use of The Theory of Plate Tectonics to determine our risk level for earthquakes in the Lower Mainland
• A clear and understandable explanation, suited to the audience

Adaptation: Have students label a diagram of the earth

Extension: Students can create an analogy to the syrup and cracker

Adaptation: Have students label a convection diagram

Looking for accuracy of explanation and if they used multiple representations to help explain

Accuracy

Reflection, thoughtfulness and accuracy of journal entries

Qualitative and Quantitative observations

##### Monitoring Progress

Pre-assessment: Use the class brainstorm to see what the students know about the topic already and what questions need to be answered.

Do a class wonderwall – have students put up questions they have about the earth so that you can address the questions throughout the unit.

Some sample True/False Questions

True/False

1. Continents are smaller now than they were in the past.

2. The size of the earth is gradually increasing over time because of seafloor spreading.

3. Tectonic plates float on melted magma that is just below the surface of the earth.

4. The Earth’s mantle is made up of molten rock.

5. The edge of a continent is a plate boundary.

6. The amount that a tectonic plate moves during a person’s life is measurable.

7. Earthquakes are rare events.

8. Scientists cannot predict earthquakes.

9. Vancouver will not fall off into the ocean.

10. Earthquakes occur only on the Ring of Fire.

11. Volcanoes can form when a plate moves over a hot spot.

12. Magma comes from Earth’s outer core.

13. An inactive volcano may erupt again some day.

14. Volcanic eruptions occur randomly.

15. All mountains can become volcanically active.

16. Rocks give us clues about the Earth’s history.

Density:
Students may not have experienced the concept of density formally at this point. This is an opportunity to do a density lab where you can graph the data and explain the difference between qualitative and quantitative data. As well as students using mathematical formulas

See link to density lab in Resources

Potential Students Misunderstandings:

• Plates are metres thick
• Plates are melted rock
• Earth’s plates are separated by empty gaps
• Rocks are always solid
• The layer beneath Earth’s plates mostly consist of liquid rock material
• The layer beneath Earth’s plates mostly consist of solid rock material
• Continents only move inches over hundreds of years, not feet or miles
• Continents and ocean basins move, but so slowly that they will barely have moved after hundreds of years
• Earth’s plates move by floating on a layer of melted rock
• Earth’s plates cannot bend
• Mountains form by the piling up of pieces of rock
• Continental plate material is only pushed upward when it pushes into continental plate material on another plate
• When two plates move away from each other, loose rock material fills the empty gap that forms between them
##### Resources

Books

• BC Science 10
• What If? By Randall Munroe
• Science Formative Assessment by Page Keeley
• Making Thinking Visible by Ron Richhart

Websites

##### Reflection

How will teachers and their students reflect on and evaluate the completed project?

Teacher:
Next time I teach this unit I would…

Allow students to select the short stories that link to Identity.

Student:
My students needed:

Process:
Product:
Content:

Potential Student Misunderstanding:

# Stage 1 – Desired Results

##### Big Ideas

The Theory of Plate Tectonics is the unifying theory that explains Earth’s geological processes.

Concepts:

• Convection
• Density
• Forces
• Theories
##### Transfer Goals

Students will be able to independently use their learning to…

• Analyze data to see patterns, draw conclusions and make predictions.
• Understand  the impact  of the  Earth’s movements on  human interaction.
##### Meaning

Students will understand that…

1. The Earth’s surface is constantly changing.

2. Earths internal forces drive changes to the Earths surface.

ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:

Students will keep considering…

Overarching Essential Question:

• How do plate interactions help to determine risk to humans and the environment?
• What causes the surface of the Earth to change?
• How does what we see today unveil the Earth’s past?
• How can we predict and understand changes to the surface of the Earth?

##### Acquisition

Students will be skilled at…

Applying and Innovating

• Model the types of plate movements
• Interpret information from data

Questioning and Predicting

• Predict where mountain building, earthquakes, and volcanic activity are likely to occur

Processing and analyzing data and information

• Present evidence to support the arguments for the theory of plate motion
• Draw conclusions about the theory of plate tectonics based on historical data

Communicating

• Communicating perspective of place in relation to plate tectonics

CONTENT

Students will know…

1. Plate tectonic movement…

• Types of plate boundaries
• Plate boundaries
• Earthquakes and volcanoes
• Measurement of Earth’s plate movements
• Aboriginal knowledge of local geological formation

2. Major geological events of local significance

3. Layers in Earth

• Crust, mantle, ourtercore, innercore

4. Earthquakes and volcanoes occur near plate boundaries and can have catastrophic effects on living populations

CORE COMPETENCIES

Which Core Competencies will be integrated into the unit?

Communication:

• I can understand and share information about a topic that is important to me
• I present information clearly and in an organized way

Critical and Creative Thinking:

• I can identify criteria that I can use to analyze evidence
• I can ask open-ended questions an gather information

Social Responsibility:

• I can clarify problems, consider alternatives and evaluate strategies

##### Big Ideas

The Big Ideas consist of generalizations and principles and the key concepts important in an area of learning. The Big Ideas represent what students will understand at the completion of the curriculum for their grade. They are intended to endure beyond a single grade and contribute to future understanding.

##### Core Competencies

Communications Competency

The set of abilities that students use to impart and exchange information, experiences and ideas, to explore the world around them, and to understand and effectively engage in the use of digital media

Thinking Competency

The knowledge, skills and processes we associate with intellectual development

Social Competency

The set of abilities that relate to students’ identity in the world, both as individuals and as members of their community and society

##### Curricular Competencies & Content

Curricular Competencies are the skills, strategies, and processes that students develop over time. They reflect the “Do” in the Know-Do-Understand model of curriculum. The Curricular Competencies are built on the thinking, communicating, and personal and social competencies relevant to disciplines that make up an area of learning.