Week of October 2nd-6th

Monday October 2nd 

Plate Motion Lesson 1.2

1: Warm-Up (5 min.)

Students activate prior knowledge about fossils and what they tell us about Earth’s history.

(Teacher Only) Why Geologists Value Fossils (8 min.)

An engaging documentary video activates and enhances students’ background knowledge about fossils, providing a foundation for the unit’s central mystery and students’ role in solving it.

2: Introducing Mesosaurus (12 min.)

A short article and a series of projections introduce students to the idea that Earth’s surface has changed over time and provide more information about students’ role as student geologists. Students are enlisted to figure out why Mesosaurus fossils are found so far apart.

3: Exploring Cross Sections (20 min.)

A jigsaw discussion about cross-section diagrams based on information from a range of scientific drilling sites on Earth engages students in thought and discussion about what the land underneath Earth’s surface is like. From this, students conclude that Earth’s outer layer is made of hard, solid rock.

4: Homework

Students create a visual representation of their ideas about the composition of Earth’s outer layer.


October 3rd


 Plate Motion Lesson 1.3



1: Warm-Up (5 min.)

An initial exploration of the Plate Motion Sim gives students the opportunity to investigate the Sim’s features and to ask questions.

(Teacher Only) Revealing Earth’s Outer Layer (5 min.)

An animation of a three-dimensional computer model helps students visualize what Earth’s outer layer looks like, and it helps them make a connection to the visualizations in the Sim.

2: Exploring Earth’s Outer Layer (15 min.)

A guided exploration of the Plate Motion Sim provides students the opportunity to understand the Sim’s features and to make careful observations about how Earth’s outer layer is represented.

3: Analyzing Maps (20 min.)

Students overlay data from a map of Earth’s plate boundaries on a map of earthquakes in order to identify locations where earthquakes, evidence of motion in the geosphere, occur. The teacher uses this opportunity as an On-the-Fly Assessment of students’ engagement with the crosscutting concept of Patterns.

4: Homework

Students reflect on a model that represents Earth’s plates and plate boundaries. They then critique the model as a way of demonstrating their understanding of Earth’s outer layer.

Wednesday October 4th

Plate Motion Lesson 1.4


1: Warm-Up (5 min.)

Students articulate what they think about the relationship between earthquakes and plate motion.

2: Simulating Earthquakes (17 min.)

Using the Plate Motion Sim, students gather evidence to support or refute the claim they selected in the Warm-Up.

3: Modeling a Plate Boundary (15 min.)

Students demonstrate their understanding of how earthquake patterns are related to plate boundaries by creating a model depicting this relationship along the plate boundary between Africa and South America. The teacher uses this opportunity as an On-the-Fly Assessment of students’ understanding of what plates are and that plates can move.

4: Considering the Mesosaurus Exhibit (8 min.)

Students consider two competing claims about the unit’s central mystery (how did the Mesosaurus fossils get so far apart?).

5: Homework

Students explain their thinking about the evidence they have gathered so far.

6: Self-Assessment (Optional)

Students check their understanding of important content in the unit, and are given a chance to reflect on additional questions they have about why the fossils of Mesosaurus that once lived together are found in different locations on Earth now.

Thursday October 5th

No School Fall Break


Friday October 6th

No School Fall Break