This engaging, fun, and rigorous NGSS aligned activity guides students through investigating the Theory of Continental Drift and Sea-Floor Spreading while learning about the contributions of Alfred Wegener and Harry Hess. Students look at fossil and landform evidence while they piece together land masses. They also explore sea-floor, then analyze and label a diagram. They also answer 4 higher level thinking questions.
The only materials required are scissors, colored pencils, and glue.
MS-ESS2-3 Earth's Systems Students who demonstrate understanding can: 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. [Clarification Statement: 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).] [Assessment Boundary: Paleomagnetic anomalies in oceanic and continental crust are not assessed.]
The performance expectation above was developed using the following elements from the NRC document A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Science and Engineering Practices Analyzing and Interpreting Data Analyzing data in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to extending quantitative analysis to investigations, distinguishing between correlation and causation, and basic statistical techniques of data and error analysis. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.
Connections to Nature of Science Scientific Knowledge is Open to Revision in Light of New Evidence Science findings are frequently revised and/or reinterpreted based on new evidence. Disciplinary Core Ideas ESS1.C: The History of Planet Earth Tectonic processes continually generate new ocean sea floor at ridges and destroy old sea floor at trenches. (HS.ESS1.C GBE),(secondary) ESS2.B: Plate Tectonics and LargeScale System Interactions Maps of ancient land and water patterns, based on investigations of rocks and fossils, make clear how Earth’s plates have moved great distances, collided, and spread apart. Crosscutting Concepts Patterns Patterns in rates of change and other numerical relationships can provide information about natural systems.