Name: ______________________________________ Date: ________________________
Student Exploration: Plate Tectonics
Vocabulary: collisional boundary, convergent boundary, crust, divergent boundary, earthquake,
lithosphere, mantle, plate, plate tectonics, subduction zone, transform boundary, volcano
Prior Knowledge Questions (Do these BEFORE using the Gizmo
.)
1. Volcanoes are openings in Earth’s crust where lava, gas, and ash can erupt. Where are
active volcanoes located? ____________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
2. An earthquake is a violent shaking of Earth’s surface. Where are earthquakes common?
_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
Gizmo Warm-up
Volcanoes, earthquakes, mountains, and other features of Earth’s surface owe their origin to the
movements of plates: enormous, slowly-moving sections of Earth’s crust. At plate boundaries,
plates collide, move apart, move under or over each other, or slide past one another. The theory
of plate tectonics describes how the plates move, interact, and change the physical landscape.
The Plate Tectonics Gizmo™ shows a cross-section, or side view, of Earth. (Not to scale.)
Above the cross section is a bird’s-eye view of the same location.
1. Turn on Show labels. What are the layers of Earth that you can see? _________________
_________________________________________________________________________
2. Turn on Boundary name, and click on each boundary. What four boundaries do you see?
_________________________________________________________________________
Hannah Sonnentag
05/08/12
They are located at the edges of the tectonic plates.
They are commonly found also on the edges of the tectonic plates and occur when
the plates move or rub up against each other.
the crust, lithosphere and mantle
transform boundary, convergent boundary: collisional, convergent boundary: subduction, divergent boundary,
Activity A:
Sliding plates
Select BOUNDARY A.
Question: What happens when plates slide past one another?
1. Observe: Boundary A is a transform boundary. The arrows below the BOUNDARY A label
will move the plates. Click the left arrow once to see how the plates move.
How would you describe the motion of plates in a transform boundary? ________________
_________________________________________________________________________
2. Sketch: Draw a bird’s-eye view of the plate boundary before and after the plate motion.
Draw an arrow to show which way the plate moved.
Before movement After movement
3. Locate: Turn on Show location. Where on Earth can you find this type of boundary? (Note:
You can refer to a world map or atlas for location names.)
_________________________________________________________________________
Highlight these locations on the map below.
The house moves further in the distance and the layers thinned out or flatten and one new one appears.
west side of North America, north side of Africa or south of Europe, west or east side of India, north of South America and southwest of
south America also south east and east of South America,
Activity B:
Colliding
continents
Turn off Boundary name and Show location.
Select BOUNDARY B.
Question: What happens when two continents collide?
1. Observe: Boundary B is an example of a convergent boundary, where two plates are
moving toward one another. When the two plates both contain continental crust, it is called a
collisional boundary. Click the left arrow four times to see how the plates move.
How would you describe the motion of plates in a collisional boundary? ________________
_________________________________________________________________________
2. Sketch: Draw a side view of the plate boundary before and after the plate motion. Draw an
arrow to show which way the plate moved.
Before movement After movement
3. Locate: Turn on Show location. Where on Earth can you find this type of boundary? (Note:
You can refer to a world map or atlas for location names.)
_________________________________________________________________________
Highlight these locations on the map below.
The plates are colliding together and creating the land to crunch up; one way a mountain forms.
north of Saudi Arabia, north of India, north-east of Asia,
Activity C:
Oceanic crust
meets continental
crust
Turn off Boundary name and Show location.
Select BOUNDARY C.
Question: What happens when ocean crust collides with continental crust?
1. Observe: Boundary C is another type of convergent boundary called a subduction zone.
Click the left arrow four times to see how the plates move.
How would you describe the motion of plates in a subduction zone? ___________________
_________________________________________________________________________
2. Sketch: Draw a side view of the plate boundary before and after the plate motion. Draw an
arrow to show which way the plate moved.
Before movement After movement
3. Locate: Turn on Show location. Where on Earth can you find this type of boundary? (Note:
You can refer to a world map or atlas for location names.)
_________________________________________________________________________
Highlight these locations on the map below.
The plates make magma/lava build up inside of a volcano and makes the volcano erupt.
west of South America, north of South America, west of North America, south of Laos, east of china,
Activity D:
Turn off Boundary name and Show location.
Select BOUNDARY D.
Question: How is new crust formed?
1. Observe: Boundary D is a divergent boundary. Click the right arrow four times to see how
the plates move.
How would you describe the motion of plates in a divergent boundary? ________________
_________________________________________________________________________
2. Sketch: Draw a side view of the plate boundary before and after the plate motion. Draw an
arrow to show which way the plate moved.
Before movement After movement
3. Locate: Turn on Show location. Where on Earth can you find this type of boundary? (Note:
You can refer to a world map or atlas for location names.)
_________________________________________________________________________
Highlight these locations on the map below.
The plates make magma come out of the ocean floor and makes new land/bumpy; after cooling.
west of South America, west of North America, west of Africa, east of Africa, south of Africa, south of Australia,