Pangea Puzzle Activity

pangea-pieces-ocean
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
pangea-foam-board-pieces.jpg
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:

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Real Time Earthquake Data Mapping Activity

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Image Source: USGS

Essential Questions:

  • Where do earthquakes occur?
  • How are earthquakes recorded and measured?
  • What is the relationship between earthquake location and magnitude?
  • How do earthquakes impact humans and the environment?

Materials:

  • Internet Access & USGS Earthquake Data
    • this link is set to the following settings: 30 days, 2.5+ magnitude, terrain, and no plate boundaries
  • Google Sheets Template – one per table top map
    • Earthquake Data Mapping Activity (Public Template)
      • to edit this spreadsheet, make a copy for each map, then share editing rights with each group of students who will be working on that map
        • if you don’t use Google Drive, you can download the Google Sheet as an Excel spreadsheet
      • ex: Map A data is shared with 4 students from period 1, 4 students from period 2, 4 students from period 3, 4 students from period 4, and 4 students from period 5. When done, they will have 200 EQs plotted and color coded on the table top map.
  • Colored pencils or markers per map
  • 1 Table sized map per lab group (3-6 students) – printed and assembled
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Sampling of student data from different regions of the world

Procedures:

  1. Assemble one table map and materials per lab group.
  2. Show students how to use and navigate the USGS website, find EQ data, and how to record their data on the Google Spreadsheets.
  3. Assign each group a map and 1-2 regions of the world. They will collect 25 data points for each region. They can choose any EQs over a magnitude of 3.0 for their region(s).
  4. Once they have all of their data, they will plot the EQs onto the table map. The magnitude of the EQ is the color they will plot onto the map.
    1. ex. Magnitude of 7.5 will be a purple dot
  5. Students will analyze their data and look for patterns
    1. What regions of the world have EQs?
    2. What regions of the world had more EQs? Less?
    3. What regions of the world had lower magnitude EQs? Higher?
    4. Why are EQs located where they are?
    5. etc…
  6. After this activity, I introduced Plate Tectonics and we discussed the relationship between EQs and tectonic plates.