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This article and accompanying questions discusses the fact that several of the Earth's tectonic plates move at about the same speed as fingernails grow - around 35 mm per year - and that the plates are made of lithosphere (crust plus the upper part of the mantle). Students will also learn that beneath the lithosphere is the asthenosphere, part of the upper mantle that is ductile because it contains ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8)
Resource type: Ref. material
Subject: Geology
 
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Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This demonstration illustrates the thickness of the crust of the earth in relation to the radius of the earth. A postage stamp stuck to a soccer ball represents the thickness of the crust. Assuming the model is somewhat accurate, students use the fact that the radius of the Earth averages about 6400 km and the crust 15 km to work out the thickness of a postage stamp. Alternatively, they may use a ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8)
Resource type: Classroom activity
Subject: Geology
 
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Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This activity elucidates the challenges of learning about the Earth's mantle and core through drilling. Students work in groups to determine the make-up of outwardly identical candy bars without cutting or biting into them. Rather, they must use straws to probe the insides, and a scale to determine density. Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8)
Resource type: Classroom activity, Glossary
Subject: Geology
 
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Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This review material is meant to reinforce student understanding of the relationship between plate tectonics and the rock cycle. Although developed for students in the United Kingdom, it can easily be modified for any region on Earth. The activity involves students answering questions based on their knowledge of plate tectonics and the rock cycle and could be used as a homework assignment or individual ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Lesson plan, Problem set
Subject: Geology
 
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Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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These activities examine the ways in which water can weather rocks. Simulations of erosion by running water, solution, freeze?thaw and by wind are investigated. Several class laboratory and demonstration activities simulate some of the processes occurring in weathering and erosion. They include a look at the effect of pouring water onto brown sugar to simulate the effect of water on soluble rock, ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8)
Resource type: Lab activity
Subject: Geology
 
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Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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These activities illustrate the order of rocks in a sequence and tells us about the relative timing of their formation. Students use layers of colored sand and colored paper to simulate the sequencing involved in the formation of rock layers. At the end of the activities students should understand that rocks lower in a sequence are usually older than ones that are higher up (superposition). They should ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8)
Resource type: Lab activity
Subject: Geology
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This demonstration illustrates the properties of the mantle of the Earth, using potty putty mixed with a solution of borax and simple glue. When left on the desk the potty putty will sink and spread. However it will also bounce like a ball if enough borax is used and it can be stretched far more than plasticine if pulled gently, but can also be fractured if pulled suddenly. Students will discover ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8)
Resource type: Presentation / Demo
Subject: Geology
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This investigation into the weathering of different types of rock can be run as an open-ended student investigation. It begins with a visit to a nearby churchyard or cemetery. This will usually contain a variety of rock types as headstones along with the dates at which they were first exposed to weathering. Students can work out how long the headstone has been in place from the date of death of the ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8)
Resource type: Field activity
Subject: Geology
 
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Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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By examining the NIST Stone wall via the Internet, students will determine the weathering rate of various rocks in the mid-Atlantic region. They will then pick a rock to use in building their "dream house" and justify their choice. Students should have a background in types of rocks. Full description.
Grade level: High (9-12)
Resource type: Lesson plan
Subject: Geology
 
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Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES), National Geography Standards: Read
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This radio broadcast considers the possibility that the current Ice Age was triggered when Panama rose up out of the sea to join North and South America, thereby separating the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. There is an explanation of how this affected, in turn, the oceans, the Arctic, and ultimately the entire planet. The clip is 2 minutes in length. Full description.
Grade level: General public
Resource type: Radio broadcast
Subject: Geology
 
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