Earth Movement Project
(Based on Matter and Energy in Earth Systems Summer Academy 2006 from WWU)

Activities || Resources || Assessment


  1. Initial Ideas
    1. Using the maps provided by your teacher answer the following questions:
      1. Where are the highest areas on earth?
      2. Where are mountain ranges mostly found?
      3. Where are the lowest places on Earth?
      4. Do you notice any patterns?
      5. Try to divide the Earth's surface into pieces.
  2. Activities: Class groups are going to be divided into the following plates:
    1. North American
    2. South American
    3. Pacific
    4. Indian and Australian
    5. African
    6. Arabian
    7. Cocos/Nazca/Caribbean
    8. Eurasian
    9. Antarctic (optional)
  3. Handouts:


  1. Plot the longitude and latitude of any and all earthquakes that happen near, on, or in your plate boundary. You will do this for two to three weeks.
    1. What is the relationship between where most earthquakes occur and locations of the tectonic plate boundaries?
  2. Map both active and inactive volcanoes around the world just like you did with the earthquakes.
    1. What is the relationship between active volcanoes and locations of the tectonic plate boundaries?
    2. What is the relationship of the volcanoes to earthquakes?
  3. As your group collects information about your plate areas, study the background and effects of earthquakes. Use the resources on this webpage to find more information about earthquakes and volcanoes.
    1. Has an earthquake ever occurred in your area?
    2. Look at great earthquakes of the past. When and where have they occurred?
    3. How does this information relate to tectonic activity in those areas?
  4. Read about the structure of a volcano, including the dynamics of how volcanoes erupt. Explore the sites related to the active volcanoes in Hawaii. Use the photos to increase comprehension about the structure and nature of volcanoes. (Resources)
  5. Once your group has two to three weeks worth of earthquakes plotted and active and non-active volcanoes plotted, review the topography maps. Your teacher will also give you geochronology maps. Do the following:
    1. Draw and define the plate boundary types on your plate.
  6. Students will prepare a classroom presentation on their plate boundary types.
  7. Motion of plates.
    1. Do you think it's possible to infer the motion of the plate boundaries? Please explain your reasoning.
    2. If your plate is moving, do you think you can infer the direction it is moving? Please explain your reasoning.
    3. Draw arrows on your plate that show the direction you think your plate is moving.
  8. Extension Activities:
    1. Teams will be creating a website to share what you learned through your research.
    2. Use the class's set of websites to piece together information about active areas of the world and how these areas relate to one another. Discuss the dynamic nature of the earth's crust.










Prentice Hall's Science Explorer's Earth Science
pgs 112-113 (for all, Earth's Interior),
115-117 (for all, Convection Currents),
119-137 (Plate Tectonic stuff),
144-167 (Earthquake stuff),
178-197 (Volcano stuff)


USGS National Earthquake Information Center:


Volcano World - Volcanoes by Region:


Volcano Gallery:


Hawaii Volcanoes National Park:


Plate Tectonics Maps and links


Links to Earthquakes and Volcanoes sites

Earthquake Recovery:

Earthquake Education Resources:

Disaster Recovery Training:

Family Safety During Earthquakes:

Can Earthquakes be predicted?

(Thanks to Lindsey Weiss and students for the broken link report and for the extra resources!)





Students should be assessed not only on the generalizations they make, but also on their ability to succinctly and accurately convey the information about their geographic area. Before assigning the multimedia presentation, clearly outline the expectations for the presentation, including format and content. Because the content objectives should align with the grade-level objectives, specific objectives and assessment guidelines are not provided here. However, a scoring rubric should be created for the presentation that includes the degree to which content objectives and other lesson objectives are met.

Extension Activity: Students will help create the rubric to score the content of their websites. The storyboard rubric and website rubric will also be used.

Here are the required elements that students came up with in class.