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Comments and Teaching Tips given for Discovering Plate Boundaries Comment on this resource

Aug 1, 2007
It might help to have the Plate Boundaries map printed out to the same size as the students' specialty maps - so they can overlay the plate boundaries directly over the specialty maps (by holding both together up to the light, for instance) and to aid in locating the boundaries on the specialty maps. Great exercise!

Aug 1, 2007
The latter part of the activity was a well grounded part in which students used all of the data, but for a smaller area of the globe. However the initial segment, which seems the easiest, was the most difficult for students. It was difficult for many to understand the data on the world maps on such a large scale. I believe this to be true mainly because of the spatial difficulties students exhibit at this age. Therefore, I think the first part needs to be scaffolded to promote less frustration among students.

Aug 1, 2007
I have used Discover Plate Tectonics in two different ways: (a) with the student groups looking at the maps as they clustered around a computer screen and (b) with the maps printed in large scale on paper (as recommended by the resource creator). The level of discussion within the student groups seemed noticeably higher with the paper maps than with maps on computer screen, and the connections that the students were making between the different data types seemed more insightful. We had enough computers so that each group could see 2 data types at once, but that's apparently not as good as seeing all 4 data types at once. Also the dynamic of having many fingers pointing out features of interest at one time on one large map seemed to spur discussion. I thought I could skip the logistical burden of dealing with printing out and archiving all those paper maps, but this short cut turned out to be a mistake pedagogically.

Mar 15, 2006
For this lesson to work effectively it helps to have the students practice observing and describing.

Dec 16, 2005
1. Allow the students to view all maps before trying to explain the maps. Always ask for questions first. Start with the map that generates the most questions. 2. Allow the students to use the computer to make power point presentations. 3. On the day of rotation where student groups are rotated around to each map, print enough maps so that each student is able to examine and discuss with other students in the group. That means putting 6-8 copies of each map on different tables. I experimented with expert groups presenting each map to the class, but it was not as successful as the rotation from map to map. 4. Once the group work begins make certain that each group has an entire set of maps for discussion and comparison.

May 29, 2005
There was some difficulty getting started, especially with the first part of the activity. The students felt very frustrated. I had one group of overacheivers who had difficulty with agreeing on what to do. I used this as part of the learning, especially about working as a team. After the first activity, the light appeared to click for everyone in the second part. Everything fell into place and the students had a renewed energy.

Apr 27, 2005
I use the powerpoint slides from the teaching tips provided to show students an example of a completed map. I only do this after they have been observing the maps and have thoroughly READ them. Doing this seems to jumpstart the movement of their observations to their blank maps.

Apr 26, 2005
My students were not clear about that they were to make each boundary of a compound type. They wanted to make a volcano type boundary separate from an earthquake boundary - lines drawn side-by-side. It would have helped to show them example maps, but that would have defeated the purpose. I will make those directions clearer the next time.

Apr 8, 2005
Educators should do the exercise completely themselves to see where students might have problems. This will help lead an exciting lab. I wouldn't recommend your first run be in the classroom.