Modeling Seafloor Spreading Lesson Plan

Modeling Seafloor Spreading Lesson Plan

In BAESI’s new “Modeling Seafloor Spreading” lesson, students create models which show the formation of new oceanic crust through seafloor spreading and its destruction in subduction zones. They incorporate the concept of magnetic polarity reversal evident in the seafloor, one of many important pieces of evidence supporting the theory of plate tectonics. Extend / enrich activities are listed at the end of the lesson, including potential connections to life and physical science concepts and ways to incorporate current research on the possible links between seafloor spreading and climate change.

Guiding Questions

  • What are some ways that the Earth is always changing?
  • How is new seafloor created?
  • How can seafloor provide evidence that the polarity of Earth’s magnetic field has reversed periodically through time?
  • Can changes in the climate affect the seafloor and vice versa?

Objectives

  • Students will create models of ocean spreading centers and subduction zones.
  • Students will demonstrate understanding of the following scientific principles through writing and discussion:
    • Seafloor spreading and how new seafloor is created and destroyed
    • How seafloor provides evidence that the polarity of Earth’s magnetic field has reversed periodically through time
  • Optional: Students will read about current research into the possible connections between seafloor changes and the climate, then form hypotheses to predict the possible connections between the seafloor and climate change.

The lesson is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) & Common Core State Standards, as well as California’s Environmental Principles and Concepts. We hope you and your students enjoy the simulation and other activities and we’d love to hear your feedback!

 

Modeling Seafloor Spreading Lesson Plan
Carbon Travels—Then and Now

Carbon Travels—Then and Now

In BAESI’s new “Carbon Travels–Then and Now” lesson plan and simulation, students play the role of carbon atoms to learn about the carbon cycle and how it is changing. Adapted from the Carbon Travels activity at STEM Earth Central, students create two carbon cycle diagrams—visual models of the cycle before and after the Industrial Revolution. They reflect on the game and how scientists believe humans are impacting this critical Earth system. Numerous Enrich / Extend activities are listed to help you meet the needs of all learners, including ideas for student projects and a detailed reading titled
“The Fast and Slooow Carbon Cycles” that is appropriate for high school chemistry classes and other more advanced students.

Guiding Questions

  • How is the carbon cycle changing due to human activities?
  • How are changes in the carbon cycle altering
    Earth’s climate and other systems?
  • How can we help restore balance to the carbon cycle?

Objectives

  • Students will participate in two simulations of the carbon cycle: before and after the Industrial Revolution.
  • Students will create two models of the carbon cycle representing how it has changed since the Industrial Revolution.
  • Students will create written explanations of their models to demonstrate their learning.
  • Students will explain how human activities have been changing the carbon cycle orally and in writing.

The lesson is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) & Common Core State Standards, as well as California’s Environmental Principles and Concepts. It can be easily adapted for other grades and non-formal education settings, as well. We hope you and your students enjoy the simulation and other activities and we’d love to hear your feedback!

Model showing storage and flows of carbon on Earth in gigatons
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carbon_cycle-cute_diagram.svg

Are We Related? An Evolution Memory Game

In this activity, students explore incidents of homology in nature and analyze similarities and differences in body structures of animals.

Are We Related? Lesson plan (.PDF)
Are We Related? Student worksheet (.PDF)
Birds and T-rex: Evidence (.PDF)
Sharks and Rays: Evidence (.PDF)
Whales and Wolves: Evidence (.PDF)
Lobsters and Insects: Evidence

Examining Mass Extinctions on Earth

In this activity, students read several articles on specific ages of the Earth and the mass extinction events which concluded them. The articles discuss the time period, types of life present, and the causes and consequences of the mass extinction event. Students then identify important information and answer questions.

Clicking the links will download a file.

Examining Mass Extinctions on Earth (.DOC)
Periods, Life, Tectonics, and Paleoclimates (.DOC)
Mass Extinctions (.DOC)