Environmental Science Unit: Plate Tectonics, Landforms, and Plate Boundaries

Grade Levels
9th - 11th, Homeschool
Standards
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Pages
65 pages + 19 PPT slides
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Description

This comprehensive set of lessons and activities is perfect for a high school environmental science course or earth science overview. This unit will introduce your students to the movement of tectonic plates, the landforms created at plate boundaries, and the effect of plate movement on human populations and ecosystems. A PowerPoint, student worksheets, a project-based learning activity, web-quests, and an online quiz are all included for a no-prep unit that is cohesive and easy to follow.

All student pages come in both PRINT and DIGITAL versions for efficient use in class or through distance learning.

Topics included in this lesson are: layers of the earth (crust, mantle, outer core, inner core), evidence for plate tectonics, Alfred Wegener, Pangaea, continental drift, plate boundaries (convergent, divergent, transform), landforms at plate boundaries (subduction zones, trenches, ridges, volcanoes, earthquakes), Ring of Fire, P-waves, S-waves, surface waves, environmental disturbances (periodic, episodic, random), intermediate disturbance hypothesis, ecosystem resistance and resilience, effects of volcanic eruptions on surrounding communities, rain shadow effect

What's included?

  • 8 Teacher Planning Pages (standards document, editable daily pacing guide, differentiation ideas for student interest, ability, and learning environment)
  • 1 PowerPoint (19 editable slides- highly visual and fully animated)
  • 2 pages of Cornell Notes (both fill-in-the-blank and editable versions included)
  • 2 pages of my popular Doodle Notes (TM) which can be used as a summary review
  • Web-quest with corresponding student pages for independent learning
  • Plate Mapping Activity using Google Maps to identify and categorize landforms at various types of plate boundaries (2 pgs)
  • Volcano Project-based Learning (PBL) Activity- Students use sustained inquiry to research the question "How should local communities prepare for and respond to a volcanic eruption?" Students demonstrate learning by making a public service video. (12 pgs- teacher instructions, student instructions, guiding questions, progress checks, student planning pages and grading rubrics)
  • 3 Extension Pages for bell-ringers or homework- volcanic eruption case study, ecological disturbances reading assignment, rain shadow effect map reading assignment (3 pgs)
  • Math Extension page- dimensional analysis and calculations using real volcanic eruption data
  • Online quiz using Google Forms for easy grading

This is a large bundle of lessons. To see details about each activity, please click on the "PREVIEW" button above.

The unit is aligned to NGSS and many state standards. If you’d like to know whether your state standards are covered, you can send me an email at support@suburbanscience.com.

NGSS addressed in this unit: HS-ESS2-2, HS-ESS2-3, HS-ESS2-7, HS-ESS3-1, HS-LS2-6, HS-ETS1-2, HS-ETS1-3. Additional details on standards are included in the teacher planning pages of this course.

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*For more details about the specific topics and items included, please see my PREVIEW.*

Where can I find other Environmental Science lessons?

Intro to Environmental Science

Biosphere Unit 1: Ecology, Food webs, and Symbiosis

Biosphere Unit 2: Species and Population Ecology

Biosphere Unit 3: World Biomes, Ecological Succession, and Biodiversity

Atmosphere: Weather, Wind, and Biogeochemical Cycles

Geosphere Unit 1: Plate Tectonics and Landforms

Geosphere Unit 2: Minerals, Mining, and Soil

Geosphere Unit 3: Fossil Fuels and Renewable Energy

Hydrosphere Unit 1: Surface Water, Groundwater, and the Water Cycle

Hydrosphere Unit 2: Marine Biomes and Water Pollution

Land Use & Sustainability

Or get the Full Environmental Science Curriculum which includes all these units!

What curriculum could I use with this lesson?

This lesson is ideally geared toward high school students and would work well with a general-level Environmental Science or Biology textbook. It addresses the following topics in AP Environmental Science (APES):

  • 2.5: Natural Disruptions to Ecosystems
  • 4.1: Plate Tectonics
  • 4.8: Earth's Geography and Climate
  • 7.4: Atmospheric CO2 and Particulates

Can I edit these resources to fit my needs?

Some of the files in this unit are editable. The text on the PowerPoints, Cornell Notes, and task cards is all editable so you can adjust the level of content and wording. The pacing guide, and the online quiz through Google Forms™ are all fully editable. Web-quests, activities, extension pages, and any images included in this unit are in non-editable PDF formats to protect my intellectual property rights and those of the illustrators whose images I’ve purchased for use in this resource.

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I value your feedback. Please rate this product. If you have any issues or questions about this product, please feel free to ask a question in my store or write to me at support@suburbanscience.com.

Total Pages
65 pages + 19 PPT slides
Answer Key
Included
Teaching Duration
2 Weeks
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Standards

to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
NGSSHS-ESS2-3
Develop a model based on evidence of Earth’s interior to describe the cycling of matter by thermal convection. Emphasis is on both a one-dimensional model of Earth, with radial layers determined by density, and a three-dimensional model, which is controlled by mantle convection and the resulting plate tectonics. Examples of evidence include maps of Earth’s three-dimensional structure obtained from seismic waves, records of the rate of change of Earth’s magnetic field (as constraints on convection in the outer core), and identification of the composition of Earth’s layers from high-pressure laboratory experiments.
NGSSHS-ETS1-2
Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
NGSSHS-ETS1-3
Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
NGSSHS-ESS2-7
Construct an argument based on evidence about the simultaneous coevolution of Earth's systems and life on Earth. Emphasis is on the dynamic causes, effects, and feedbacks between the biosphere and Earth’s other systems, whereby geoscience factors control the evolution of life, which in turn continuously alters Earth’s surface. Examples include how photosynthetic life altered the atmosphere through the production of oxygen, which in turn increased weathering rates and allowed for the evolution of animal life; how microbial life on land increased the formation of soil, which in turn allowed for the evolution of land plants; or how the evolution of corals created reefs that altered patterns of erosion and deposition along coastlines and provided habitats for the evolution of new life forms. Assessment does not include a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms of how the biosphere interacts with all of Earth’s other systems.
NGSSHS-ESS3-1
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity. Examples of key natural resources include access to fresh water (such as rivers, lakes, and groundwater), regions of fertile soils such as river deltas, and high concentrations of minerals and fossil fuels. Examples of natural hazards can be from interior processes (such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes), surface processes (such as tsunamis, mass wasting and soil erosion), and severe weather (such as hurricanes, floods, and droughts). Examples of the results of changes in climate that can affect populations or drive mass migrations include changes to sea level, regional patterns of temperature and precipitation, and the types of crops and livestock that can be raised.

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