October 23rd-27th


October 23rd

Plate Motion Lesson 2.7

1: Warm-Up (8 min.)

Students are introduced to Iceland as a geologically interesting place in order to engage them in the lesson’s activities.

The teacher uses short videos to review concepts and introduces the lesson’s activities.

2: Learning About Iceland (25 min.)

Students read a short introduction and then create models to review concepts from Chapters 1 and 2 that they have not yet mastered or to broaden their understanding. Students who have mastered all the content think about a new context.

3: Homework

The teacher introduces the differentiated homework assignments to students.

Students are provided with an opportunity to critique inaccurate models for homework.

4: 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.


October 24th


 Plate Motion Lesson 3.1



1: Warm-Up (5 min.)

Students consider their prior knowledge about and experiences of plate motion.

(Teacher Only) Video: Plate Motion and GPS (10 min.)

Through an engaging animation, students learn how GPS receivers are used to track plate motion.

2: Observing How Plates Move (15 min.)

The Plate Motion Sim provides students with evidence for the rate of plate movement. The teacher uses this opportunity as an On-the-Fly Assessment of students’ understanding of the use of patterns to obtain information.

3: Word Relationships (15 min.)

Students engage in a discourse routine that enables them to make sense of the evidence they’ve gathered about rate of plate motion. The teacher uses this opportunity as an On-the-Fly Assessment of students’ understanding of the rate of plate motion.

4: Homework

Students synthesize what they have learned so far about plate motion as they write about whether they think the plate movement that separated the Mesosaurus fossils happened slowly or suddenly.


October 25th

Plate Motion Lesson 3.2


1: Warm-Up (5 min.)

Students reflect on what they learned about the evidence scientists use to understand the rate of plate motion.

2: The Value of Fossil Evidence (10 min.)

Students are introduced to the Investigation Question, and they consider how understanding current plate motion might help to explain past plate motion.

3: Active Reading: “A Continental Puzzle” (20 min.)

Students read and annotate an article about how Alfred Wegener developed the theory of plate tectonics. They focus on identifying challenging or unfamiliar words or phrases as they read. This activity provides an opportunity for an On-the-Fly Assessment of students’ ability to engage with scientific texts and identify challenging or unfamiliar words.

4: Discussing Annotations (10 min.)

Students select interesting or unanswered questions from the reading they would like to share. Students then discuss challenging words they identified when they read. Students’ annotations provide an opportunity for an On-the-Fly Assessment of students’ annotation skills, reading comprehension, and content understanding.

5: Homework

Students use the Sorting Tool to become familiar with the time scale of major events that have occurred on Earth and read a second article in which they learn about the seventeenth-century scientist, Nicholas Steno, who first developed one of the fundamental principles of geography and Earth’s history: that older rock layers are layered beneath newer rock layers.


October 26th

Plate Motion Lesson 3.3


1: Warm-Up (5 min.)

Students use their understanding about the rate of plate motion to predict how much the continents will move in the future.

2: Rereading “A Continental Puzzle” (15 min.)

Students reread part of the article to consider the rate of plate motion over millions of years.

3: Reconstructing Gondwanaland (25 min.)

Students use physical materials to reconstruct an ancient supercontinent, based on evidence and their knowledge of plate motion. The teacher uses this opportunity as an On-the-Fly Assessment of students’ understanding that maps of ancient land masses reveal how Earth’s plates have moved.

4: Homework

Students revise their Warm-Up responses based on the new understandings they constructed during the lesson.


October 27th

Plate Motion Flextention Modeling Plate Boundaries

This hands-on activity builds on and reinforces students’ understanding of plate motion and what happens at different types of plate boundaries. Students use a range of available materials to develop and build physical models that show what happens at divergent boundaries and convergent boundaries. They share their models with another pair, explaining their reasoning for choosing specific materials to represent parts of Earth’s outer layer and demonstrating how their model works. Then, students analyze
their models and explain what the model does well and what is inaccurate or left out. The purpose of this lesson is for students to demonstrate their understanding of what happens at divergent and convergent plate boundaries in their own way.