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.
|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)|
|The red paper represents the mantle and the next experiment helps 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! Our Earth Science Unit (post) is here to find out more!!
Learn how to make a earthquake shake table, more than a dozen hands-on activities on the layers of the earth, plate movement, convection currents, earthquakes, volcanoes, and more!
Topics include: Solar System, Layers of the Earth, Earth’s Axis and the Seasons, Latitude and Longitude, Plate Tectonics, Faults, Earthquakes, Earthquake Waves, Volcanoes, 4 Types of Mountains
Here is a Quick Preview of the Earth Science Packet.
Our Earth Science Unit covers the solar system, the layers of the Earth, plate tectonics, the ring of fire, faults, earthquakes, volcanoes and more.
It also includes instructions for more than a dozen hands-on activities we did with this unit. This includes activities about plate tectonics, convection currents, using a compass, earthquakes, volcanoes, instructions on how to make a shake table and more!
Our packet is $9.99.
We did this unit twice: My kids were in Grades 1, 4, and 6 when we did this unit the first time. They were in Grades 4, 7 and 9 when we covered it again (and added to the packet!).
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Pangaea and Plate Movement Activities
The types of earthquake waves
In this unit, we especially liked these resources. These are affiliate links:
See how to make a shake table here:
See our Gelatin Volcano Earth Science Activity here:
Se our Tissue Paper Volcano Activity here:
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P.S. We have lots of other units. Here are the links to check those out