Student Internet investigation or "webquest" that explores the subject of continental drift, seafloor spreading and the theory of plate tectonics.The activity is divided into three parts. Part one investigates the origins and evidence that supported the continental drift theory, and why it was rejected at the time. Part two explores how seafloor spreading was discovered, the evidence for it, and the relationship to the continental drift theory. Part three compares and contrasts different plate boundaries, what causes plate movement, and the effects of plate tectonics with geological processes. The latest links containing images and data are presented as well for these topics.
I use this computer lab activity for my Earth/Space class as part of the Unit VIII "Plate Tectonics" review but it can also be used as a basic high school level webquest review or as an introduction to the subjects. (Some students will finish the activity within one class period but generally it will take about an hour to complete.)
This activity as well as PowerPoint lessons, worksheets, review programs and assessments can be found under the Earth/Space Complete Unit VIII "Plate Tectonics" zip file folder.
Terms/concepts in this activity include:
Pangaea, matching coastlines, Alfred Wegner, meteorologist, geologist, Continental Drift Theory, fossil evidence, Mesosaurus, Glossopteris, climate clues, glacial deposits, rock-type clues, mountain ranges, Appalachians, continental drift theory rejection, seafloor spreading, ocean floor mapping, echo sounding, SONAR, ocean floor features (mountains, canyons, ridges), Harry Hess, mid-ocean ridges, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, ocean crust, magma, absolute ages of rock, ocean floor drilling, Earth's magnetic field, magnetic field reversals, magnetometer, submersibles, plate tectonics, seafloor spreading, continental drift, convection currents, mantle material, mid-ocean ridge, lithosphere, asthenosphere, mantle, crust, ocean crust, continental crust, basaltic, granitic, plates, plate boundaries, convergence, divergence, transform, Great Rift Valley, Andes mountains, Himalayan mountains, plate collision, subduction, island arcs, earthquakes, tsunami, mountain building, fault, San Andreas Fault
Earth/Space Complete Unit VIII "Plate Tectonics"
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License