Pangea Puzzle Activity

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Puzzle Pieces: Landmasses in their current position (not to scale)

Essential Questions:

  • How has the surface of our planet changed over time?
  • What clues are provided to show that the surface of our planet has changed?
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Pangea: Image Source NYTimes

Materials (per 2-3 students): I make these ahead of time to save time in class and I can reuse them for each class.

  • Foam Board
  • Glue stick
  • Disposable scalpel or sharp craft knife
  • USGS landmasses (Pangaea activity PDF)
  • Blue construction paper
  • Ziptop bag

Procedures:

Preparation

  1. Print out and glue landmasses to a piece of foam board
  2. Carefully cut out each land mass and fossil key
  3. Place into zip-top bag
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Glue landmasses onto foam board then cut out pieces

Class Activity

  1. Have students place the landmasses into their current geographic positions on top of the blue construction paper.
  2. What do they notice about the landmasses? Discuss.
  3. Ask students: “Do you think you can make one large landmass using the clues provided?”
  4. After a few minutes, check on their progress, what did they do first? What was giving them difficultly? Encourage students to try alternate possibilities.
  5. Discuss findings, what possibilities did they come up with?
  6. Ask students how the landmasses moved to their current position- accept all possibilities.
  7. Ask students: “Are the landmasses are still moving?”
  8. Show “Animated Life: Pangea” by the NYTimes
  9. Have students try to create Pangea again.
  10. Discuss.

The Pangaea Pop-Up video is a great video to show also:

What is a Mineral? Sorting Activity

 

rhodochrosite
Source: Minerals 4 Kids

Resources:

I use this activity as an introduction to my minerals and mining unit. Students learn the 5 properties of minerals (SNIFC) and apply them to a variety of items to categorize each item as either a mineral or non-mineral.

I also have the slides in a pdf format if you would like to have the students sort the items first, then discuss each item and why they think it is or isn’t a mineral. Then, they can view the answers afterwards.

 

Rocks ROCK! Identification Stations

Research & Note taking
Rock Identification: Research and note taking

Materials:

  • At least 4 samples for each of the following 12 rocks:
    • Igneous Rocks: Pumice, Obsidian, Basalt, & Granite
    • Sedimentary Rocks: Sandstone, Limestone, Conglomerate, & Coal
    • Metamorphic Rocks: Slate, Gneiss, Hornfels, & Marble
  • Rocks, Gems, and Minerals Guide – classroom set
  • Handouts for note-taking
  • Flashcards – print out and glue onto index cards (pdf)
    • each student made their own set to keep
  • Index cards with rock IDs on them
    • 1 set per lab table
  • Paper plates
    • 12 plates with rock IDs
    • additional plates: 1 set per table if not using index cards

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Students will learn to identify & categorize 12 common rocks samples during this multi-day lesson. To introduce the unit, students are given the foundation of how rocks form and the three types of rocks: Igneous, Metamorphic, and Sedimentary.

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Working with a partner and/or in small groups, they will research, handle, and compare the rock specimens and take careful notes at the different stations. Once their research is done, they will practice identifying the rock samples by creating and teaching each other different games using the rocks samples.

rocks_plate_id_game

Some games the students played are:

  • Sort the rocks into 3 piles: I, S, or M, who can do it the fastest?
  • Rock races
    • 2 students are given 6 rocks each to find and sort from the pile of 12
    • can you find it? Name a rock and pick it from the pile
  • Match the rock samples to the name of the rock
  • Mis-match some of the rocks with their ID cards, can you figure out which ones are incorrect?
  • Rock Quiz – creating questions from the index cards
    • examples:
      • Which rock is the only intrusive igneous rock?
      • Which rock floats on water?
      • Which one used to be limestone?

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For more lessons related to Rocks & Minerals, be sure to visit my Earth Science Page (link).

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