Earth Science: Plate Movements, Pangaea

We were still talking about plate tectonics on Friday. We talked about how scientists theorize that the continents were once connected as one giant super-continent, Pangaea. I cut out South America and Africa and asked them to fit them together as best the could. When they didn’t fit together perfectly I asked the kids why the continents wouldn’t match perfectly after 250 million years? We talked about erosion and the power of water (waves, storms and such–like the poor people who endured the cyclone in the Cairns region of Australia in the past week or so).

Next we did a little activity to show how continents could move without some giant hand pulling them apart.  This was perfect for the kids, since it let them “see” the continents move without our touching them.  I cut the continents out of foam.  The kids folded construction paper.  First we set the continents close together with a piece of playdough to weight the continents down.

Tectonic Plate Movement Hands-on Activity

As the kids pulled each side of the construction paper, they could see the continents move apart. We got this idea from Robert Gardners” Earth-Shaking Science Projects About Planet Earth. (affiliate link)

Tectonic Plate Movement Activity

The red paper represents the mantle and the next experiment helped the kids understand how and why magma flows.

The mantle is hotter than the crust. This is a terrible picture, but it helped the kids see that heat rises. We took ice cold water and poured it into a jar.  We dyed some water green and heated it up. Then LD sucked the hot water with a turkey baster (but I think a eye dropper might work better) and slowly let out the hot/green water.  The kids could see the green water streaming upwards toward the surface.  This helped the kids understand why magma/lava from the mantle would move up/out of the crust and/or shift about to affect the earth’s plates.

Be sure to check out our 150+ page Earth Science Packet:

Earth-Science-Packet 150 page - worksheets hands-on activities and morePlate-Boundaries-PangaeaFaults Earthquake Waves WorksheetsEarth Science Unit - Layers of the Earth Activities Types of Volcanoes Worksheets - Interactive Notebook PagesVolcano Worksheets and Notebook Pages

You might also want to check out our Layers of the Atmosphere Packet 

 

Layers of the Atmosphere Packet - Worksheets Hands-On Activities Notebook Pages Layers of the Atmosphere Printable Activity Earth Systems - Atmosphere Geosphere Hydrosphere Notebook Activity - Earth System Lapbook PiecesYou will find this packet and more in our Store!

We especially liked the books below. These are affiliate links:

EarthScienceBooks

You might also be interested in these related posts: 

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~Liesl

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8 Responses

  1. Kylie says:

    That's a great experiment!

  2. Kylie says:

    That's a great experiment!

  3. April says:

    I still remember when I was in elementary school, staring at a world map and realizing that the two continents could fit together like a puzzle. I thought I had discovered something nobody else had and I ran off to tell the teacher lol

  4. April says:

    I still remember when I was in elementary school, staring at a world map and realizing that the two continents could fit together like a puzzle. I thought I had discovered something nobody else had and I ran off to tell the teacher lol

  1. January 6, 2014

    […] plate movement […]

  2. January 6, 2014

    […] plate movement […]

  3. October 14, 2014

    […] Earth Science: Plate Movements, Pangea […]

  4. October 14, 2014

    […] Earth Science: Plate Movements, Pangea […]

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