Plate Tectonics Webquest
Almost all of the processes that shape our Earth are effected by what is going on deep under the crust. The formation of volcanos is evidence that the inside of the earth is not just solid rock, and the growth of mountains implies immense forces at work to push mountains so high. In fact, the movement of material in the Earth even affects the weather that we have. Some scientists believe that life would not be possible on Earth if it were not for the activity going on miles beneath our feet.
As residents of Earth, it is our responsibility to know how this world works. Fortunately, scientists for years have been studying the Earth and many have put their results on the internet. For your task, search the internet using the links provided and any sites that you find yourself to answer the following questions. Remember, as a resident of Earth it is your resposibility to know how Earth works, and how to live with this dynamic planet.
At the completion of this webquest you should be able to:
- Explain the theory of plate tectonics
- Indicate some of the evidence that supports the theory of plate tectonics
- Explain how plate tectonics has shaped the surface of the Earth
- Determine what kind of plate boundary a given location has
- Describe the driving force for plate movement
- Explain some of the ways that plate tectonics affect humanity
Process edited 1.31.2013
Use the website links provided, and any others you want, answer the following questions. You are expected to read the text found on the provided websites and to explore the links and any animations/videos that are found on the website as well. Each group of questions has a recommended website(s) link to search for the answers. Once you have found an answer record the information on the webquest handout and the website(s) that you used. Well, what are you waiting for...geologize!!!
1. What evidence did Alfred Wegener use to support his theory of continental drift? (6pts)
2. Why do you think people didn't believe continental drift theory when Alfred Wegener first explained it? (2pts)
3. Who were the two scientists that brought forth supporting evidence to Wegener's theory, and what was their evidence? (4pts)
(Recommended link for questions 1-3) Alfred Wegener
(cool animation) Continental Drift
4. What are the three different types of plate boundaries? For each type of plate boundary....(12pts total)
a. identify the boundary
b. describe the movement at the boundary
c. draw a diagram that represents each type of boundary
d. provide an example of a location on Earth where each type of plate boundary is present
5. What are the three different types of convergent plate boundaries? For each type of convergent boundary...(9pts total)
a. identify the types of crust interacting
b. identify the landform(s) created
c. draw a diagram that represents each type of convergent boundary (make sure to include the type of crust interacting)
d. provide an example of a location on Earth where the plate boundary is present
(Recommended links for questions 4 & 5)
6. CHALLENGE QUESTION: How old are the rocks off the east coast of North America relative to the rocks right along the mid atlantic ridge, why do you think this is the case?
(Recommended link for question 6) Sea-floor spreading
7. What types of tectonic forces create mountains? (2pts)
(Recommended link for question 7 ~ watch both TV video clips) Mountain building
8. Describe 3 ways plate tectonics impact humans' habitat. (6pts)
(Recommended link for question 8) Humans and Plate Tectonics
9 & 10: Visit the BBC Website, The Earth ~ Surface & Interior. Select any two topics not covered in this webquest and watch the selected TV video clip(s). For each topic write a brief summary of the information presented in the video clip. (4pts total) (You will have to search around - some media is not available)
11. Decribe why the Hawaiian Islands are found in the middle of the Pacific Plate? How did the Hawaiian Islands form? (Answer on a separate sheet of paper)
(Recommended link for question 11)
12. Exploring Volcanoes: Pick up the Volcano Simulator handout. Visit the Volcano Simulator to complete the questions about volcanoes.
Student has answered each question using complete sentences.
Student has given where they found the information in each of their answers.
Student not wandering on computer during class time devoted for webquest.
It is fascinating to think how unique our planet is. As scientists learn out how dynamic our world is, we find ourselves dependent on the unforeseen and immensely powerful forces at play far beneath the Earth's surface. Everything from the water we drink to the air we breathe can be related back to tectonic forces. Yet, as you discovered during your webquest there are still many unanswered questions. As we learn more and are able to answer these questions we will be able to improve humanities ability to live in harmony with the world around us. As you have seen, many of the natural disasters that plague humanity such as: volcanos, earthquakes, and tsunamis, are all a function of the inner workings of our planet. Being able to predict and live with these events is the task given to you as the future scientists. As the puzzle of plate tectonics and the movement of the Earth are better understood the quality of life on Earth will improve.
Thanks to all the links and assistance used for this activity:
- John Campbell - this webquest has been modified from his Plate Tectonics Webquest
- Public Broadcasting Service < http://www.pbs.org/ >
- University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Paloeontology < http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/geology/anim1.html >
- U.S. Geological Survey < http://www.usgs.gov/ >
- University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point < http://www.uwsp.edu/ >
- BBC Earth <http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/earth/surface_and_interior>
- Google < http://www.google.com/ >
- YETC @ Utah State University