Plate Tectonics Earth's Layers Digital Unit

Sunrise Science
Grade Levels
6th - 8th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF
  • Google Apps™
  • Internet Activities
138 pages
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Sunrise Science
Includes Google Apps™
The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).

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This 4-week digital unit on Plate Tectonics and Earth's Interior can be completely facilitated using Google Classroom. This unit will help your students to learn about Alfred Wegener and Pangaea, the layers of Earth, convection currents in the mantle, seafloor spreading, tectonic plates, and plate boundaries. This unit is organized as a 'storyline' unit. There is an anticipation activity followed by an introductory phenomenon and discussion board activity. Then, a series of lessons follow that help students to explore and make sense of the initial phenomenon.

This download includes a 40-page Unit Overview Google Doc that is for the Teacher. This document has all of the lessons written out in sections (Lesson |, Lesson 2, Lesson 3, etc.) so that you can see everything in one place. This document includes the answers and it notes how many days (40-45 minute periods) each individual lesson will usually take to complete. This will help you with planning.

The download also includes 10 separate Google Doc lessons that you will share with your students on Google Classroom. Each of these lessons takes 1 to 3 days to complete. Students will type directly on their copies of these Docs and these are what you will grade for each student. Please view the PREVIEW for more visuals of how this unit is organized. My students have responded so well to this lesson format because they know what to expect whether they are learning in-person or virtually. I love that I can schedule out all of the lessons in Google Classroom and I know what I’m teaching weeks out! The prep is easy and the grading is so easy too. You could use this for in-person or hybrid teaching for classes with 1:1 devices, or for all-remote synchronous or asynchronous teaching.

This unit was designed to satisfy the following NGSS Standards: MS-ESS2-3: Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions. MS-ESS2-1: Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s material and the flow of energy that drives this process. MS-ESS2-2: Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.

These are the topics covered in each lesson:

Lesson 1: Alfred Wegener's discovery (unit phenomenon)

Lesson 2: Pangaea

Lesson 3: Earth's Interior

Lesson 4: Earth's Layers in detail

Lesson 5: Density and Earth's Layers

Lesson 6: Moving Plates, Hot Spot Island Formation

Lesson 7: Convection in the Mantle

Lesson 8: Tectonic Plate Boundaries

Lesson 9: Seafloor Spreading

Lesson 10: Types of Plate Boundaries

Throughout this unit, students will engage in: modeling activities, digital manipulatives and graphic organizers, virtual interactives and simulations, predicting, observing, and explaining phenomena from demonstrations, video clips, readings, data analysis, formative assessments, and more! There is a Google Form post-assessment. This unit is completely paperless and it’s designed and organized for easy facilitation, modification, and grading! :-)

This unit has been completed by my students! They loved it and I had so much fun teaching it! I'm confident that this unit will save you TONS of planning time! You will have 4 weeks of editable and flexible digital curriculum that can be delivered in a hybrid, completely remote, or in-person classroom (with 1:1 devices).

Please view the Preview to get a better idea of what is included!

You can also take advantage of 20% off plus access to all of my Earth & Space Science paperless digital units by purchasing my Earth & Space Science Digital Curriculum Bundle, or get 25% off of this and all of the resources in the Earth & Space Science BIG Bundle!

You may also want to incorporate these Cornell Doodle Notes and Pixel Art Activities to really round out this digital unit! If you add in these activities, this unit will take approximately 5 weeks:

Layers of the Earth Cornell Doodle Notes and Powerpoint

Continental Drift and Seafloor Spreading Cornell Doodle Notes and Powerpoint

Plate Tectonics Cornell Doodle Notes and Powerpoint

Plate Tectonics Abracadabra Pixel Art Digital Review Activity

Plotting Earthquakes and Volcanoes on an X-Y Grid Paper or Digital Activity

Check out the bundles to save $ on these resources!

Thanks for looking!

Sunrise Science

Total Pages
138 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 month
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process. Emphasis is on the processes of melting, crystallization, weathering, deformation, and sedimentation, which act together to form minerals and rocks through the cycling of Earth’s materials. Assessment does not include the identification and naming of minerals.
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales. Emphasis is on how processes change Earth’s surface at time and spatial scales that can be large (such as slow plate motions or the uplift of large mountain ranges) or small (such as rapid landslides or microscopic geochemical reactions), and how many geoscience processes (such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and meteor impacts) usually behave gradually but are punctuated by catastrophic events. Examples of geoscience processes include surface weathering and deposition by the movements of water, ice, and wind. Emphasis is on geoscience processes that shape local geographic features, where appropriate.
Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions. Examples of data include similarities of rock and fossil types on different continents, the shapes of the continents (including continental shelves), and the locations of ocean structures (such as ridges, fracture zones, and trenches). Paleomagnetic anomalies in oceanic and continental crust are not assessed.


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