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Plate Tectonics and Rock Cycling
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Plate Tectonics and Rock Cycling


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About This Lesson

In this unit, students investigate the phenomena of the building up of Earth’s surface and the wearing down of Earth’s surface. The subtitle of this unit is What causes Earth’s surface to change? This is a phenomenon that all students have some experience with. Students know about earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. They have a sense that mountains are built up and erode. It is then natural to ask: “What are the processes by which the surface of the earth changes?” This unit allows students to observe weather and climate phenomenon in detail and then start to ask questions, formulate explanations, then set up and conduct activities and research. As students work with classmates to analyze their shared experiences, they can formulate new questions and develop new strategies for answering those questions. Students explore concepts that include the following:

  • How are earthquakes related to where mountains are located?
  • What is happening to Earth’s surface and the material below it during an earthquake?
  • How could plate movement help us explain how Mt. Everest and other locations are changing in elevation?
  • Where were Africa and South America in the past?
  • What causes mountains to shrink in elevation?

As students move through their day-to-day activities, they will also read Core Knowledge literacy selections. These include factual articles, history of the sciences, art and literature, spotting bad science in the media and advertisements, graphics comprehension, research-type articles, reliability of sources, and other areas of science literacy.




March 29, 2024
38.34 MB


Lesson Plan
March 29, 2024
26.65 MB


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