Plate Tectonics - Earthquakes, Volcanoes & Mountains Science Station | 4th NGSS

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Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Mountains. Why do they occur? How does plate tectonics explain the cause of volcanoes, earthquakes and other large-scale geologic interactions and land formations.

These Fourth Grade Next Generation Science Standards include 8 different science stations where students deepen their understanding of plate tectonics. The focus is on 4-ESS2.B. Concepts include volcanoes, the structure of the Earth, types of maps, features of the ocean floor, seafloor maps, the Pacific Ring of Fire, plate boundaries, and geographic features caused by plate boundaries.

By working through this set of stations, students will gain a robust understanding of plate tectonics. Every station in this set meets the Crosscutting Concept: Patterns “Patterns can be used as evidence to support an explanation.” Each station addresses how scientists can understand how large-scale interactions (volcanoes and other landforms, earthquakes, etc.) explain and are explained by plate tectonics.

In Fourth Grade, students are expected to “Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features” (4- ESS2-1). This correlates with the DCI 4-ESS2.B, which states, “The locations of mountain ranges, deep ocean trenches, ocean floor structures, earthquakes, and volcanoes occur in patterns. Most earthquakes and volcanoes occur in bands that are often along the boundaries between continents and oceans. Major mountain chains form inside continents or near their edges. Maps can help locate the different land and water features areas of Earth.” All stations in this set meet the DCI, helping students gain an understanding of plate tectonics and how it explains volcanoes, earthquakes, and other large-scale geologic interactions and land formation. The Engineering Practice of “Analyze and interpret data to make sense of phenomena using logical reasoning” is part of the Investigate, Diagram, Model, and Explore stations.

★ Click here to purchase all the Fourth Grade Science Stations together in one large yearlong BUNDLE ★

Plate Tectonics Stations Include

Vocabulary Cards in two formats with and without pictures.

Big Idea Posters that explain key concepts.

Watch a Video - Students watch one of two videos and then answer questions about the videos. Videos include: volcanoes and the structure of the Earth.

Play a Game - Students play a video game and learn about different types of maps or about volcanoes. Students answer questions to reinforce the new learning.

Investigate Earthquakes - Students read about earthquakes. They construct a building in order to investigate what happens to buildings during earthquakes. Students then answer questions to reinforce the concepts learned.

Diagram the Seafloor - Students read about features of the ocean floor and how scientists make seafloor maps. They make models and diagrams of the seafloor. They then make a map (diagram) of the seafloor and answer questions in order to reinforce what they have learned.

Read About the Ring of Fire - Students read about the Pacific Ring of Fire. They answer questions in order to reinforce what they have learned.

Model Plate Boundaries - Students read about plate tectonics and plate boundaries. They build models of plate boundaries. They answer questions in order to reinforce what they have learned.

Explore Types of Volcanoes - Students read about and explore volcanoes using a simulation. They then answer questions about the exploration.

Sort Plate Boundaries - Students read about the geologic features created at the three types of plate boundaries. They sort these features into plate boundary categories. Students then answer questions in order to reinforce what they have learned.

Google Classroom™️ Components Include

► Google Forms™️ with Reading Passages, Differentiated Questions and Links to the Videos and Games (all stations)

► Google Slides™️ with Activity Directions & Worksheets to record results (Investigate, Diagram, Model, Explore, and Sort)

While we have included Google Slides, many of the stations are hands-on.

Click here to purchase all of the Fourth Grade Earth Science Stations together in one BUNDLE.

Differentiated Responses

Each station includes four different ways to respond to the experience at the station: short answer questions, fill-in the blank questions, task cards with short answers, task cards with multiple choice. All the variations are similar to one another. Choose the format that best fits your classroom and students. Students are encouraged to use their science journal, but worksheets are included as well.

Some stations include two or more activity choices and extension activities.

Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes. Students may do one a day for 8 days, 2 a day for four days, or any format that works for your classroom. Because there are additional activities for the Watch and Play stations, you can offer those as a choice within that station or offer them as an early finisher station, as well.

See the preview for additional information and details.

Additional Science Stations are also available.


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Terms of Use

Copyright © Jessica Boschen. All rights reserved by author. This product is to be used by the original downloader only. Copying for more than one teacher, classroom, department, school, or school system is prohibited. This product may not be distributed or displayed digitally for public view. Failure to comply is a copyright infringement and a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Clipart and elements found in this PDF are copyrighted and cannot be extracted and used outside of this file without permission or license. Intended for classroom and personal use ONLY.

Total Pages
191 pages
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.
Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.


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