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Learning Cycle Assignment

Sarah Martinuk

1. Engagement Activity:
Map of Tectonic Plates as shown by Earthquake, Volcano and
Mountain Locations (20 MINUTES, discussion to follow)
OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to infer where plate boundaries occur
based on the patterns of locations of the effects from colliding plates.
Students will be able to identify specific locations by using a world map.

ACTIVITY: Have a large political world map hanging slightly lower then at
students’ eye level. As students enter classroom, give each student a map of
a region of the world, with dots where volcanoes, earthquakes or major
mountain chains occur. When all students are settled, get students with
volcanoes to go up and map their locations given to them with one color of
pin. Then when they are finished, give students with major earthquake
locations another color of pin, and get them to come up and map their
locations, and etc. for the mountain chain locations. Get students to observe
the map, and guess at what is being shown to them based on the locations of
the major natural occurrences. Ask students what may be causing them,
what can we infer. Because earthquakes, volcanoes and mountains all occur
in similar locations, what is the pattern for the cause of each?

THE SCIENCE BEHIND… Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Mountains occur

often on the edges of tectonic plates. (HotSpots are exceptions that occur in
a weakness in the earth’s crust) When the edges of the plates shift past each
other, spread apart or collide, one of these land transformers occurs. The
map will then demonstrate the size and general shape of each of the tectonic
-Don’t give students tacks/pins until they come up to the board, so as they
are not tempted to poke other students with them, or themselves.
-Place the map at a height where students can reach so they don’t need to
stand on anything to reach and risk falling.

MATERIALS NEEDED: large world map, three colors of map pins or dots, or
erasable markers(if map is laminated), maps for each students with markings
of the locations of volcanoes, earthquakes or mountain ranges.
2. Exploration Activity:
Do like the Plates Do (1 CLASS)
OBJECTIVES: Students will learn by doing, how tectonic plates move, how
the earth’s crust is affected by it, and what the effects from it are.
Students will make diagrams to demonstrate their knowledge about how the
earth’s crust is affected by movement.

ACTIVITY: Students will be grouped in partners with desks pushed together,

and given two balls of different colored plasticine,(or two layered sponges
would also work) and a container with some jelly in it(~1 inch). Give
instructions that students would be figuring out ways that tectonic plates
move, and how the earth’s crust would be effectedby it. The plasticine can
be smoothened out into a flat layer, and the other color likewise would be
squished on top, this allows students to see the different layers(representing
layers of rock). Cut the plasticine in half to show the two ‘plate edges’and
place over top of jelly. Get students to then go on their own and play with the
actions that the plates might react in(colliding, spreading apart, sliding over
top of the other, or rubbing past each other). Get students to draw and label
what they see with each action, the direction of the action(using arrows)and
how the jelly underneath reacts. When students have finished, as a class,
discuss the findings, and all the ways that the ‘plates’ reacted. Some guiding
questions may be: Which ways could the plates move and react to each
other? What did this look like? Which of the 3 natural reactions to tectonic
plates and their movements(Volcanoes, Earthquakes or Mountains) may have
been the consequence? How do you know this? Ask students in general, but
remember students who were making correct assumptions, and call on them
if the right answers are not brought up.
Some expected outcomes:
Earthquakes are formed when the plates shift past each other, and energy is
released, volcanoes occur in a spot where the earths crust is shifting or
spreading apart(divergent boundaries) and magma(in this case, the jelly) is
allowed at anopening in the earths crust in which to flow out of, gradually
building up a volcano. As well, volcanoes may also be formed at points where
plates collide(convergent boundaries), often on the bottom of the ocean(also
known as sea-floor spreading) and one plate slides under the other, forming
locations where magma can slide through the cracks, and again, gradually
form a volcanic mountain. Mountains occur when plates again may collide,
and the earths crust may either buckle, fold, or rise up over each other.

-Students should not eat either the jelly or plasticine.
-Students should have paper towels at each desk to mop up any spilt jelly so
that no one slips on it.

MATERIALS: shallow containers, jelly(or stirred jello, etc), plasticine in at

least 2 different colors(or multilayered sponges), paper towel, paper, pencil

3. Exploration Activity:
Hotlist: allows students to explore on their own how tectonic plates
react to each other, and further information regarding volcanoes,
earthquakes and mountains. (1-2 CLASSES)
OBJECTIVES: Students will learn about the relationship between the
collision or sliding of plates and the occurrence and details about
earthquakes, volcanoes, or mountain building .
Students will independently explore take in and re-write information at their
own pace.

ACTIVITY: Students will log on to the Hotlist(made by myself) and explore

following the provided directions(By looking through at least 2 of the links
below from EACH CATEGORY, discover how tectonic plates move, and the
effects that they have on the earth and the people. As you go, write down
important facts about mountains, volcanoes, and earthquakes that you think
you may need to know...(hint hint...they may be useful in a later
assignment!!) at their own pace and learn more about tectonic plates,
volcanoes, earthquakes and mountains using a variety of pre-chosen
websites, videos, games etc. This is a very individual paced activity that may
incorporate a variety of types of learner(visual , verbal/linguistic, etc.) and
because they know that they will need the information for a later assignment,
they are responsible for writing down and understand the information that
they deem important. In the following activity, basic information will be gone
over for clarification so that all students understand the concepts.

Questions asked may be addressed individually, and based on the content

within the website, and should be answered in a way that the student can
infer by what they already know.
Much of the information has been stated above, but here are some other
tidbits that would be worth knowing:

Volcanoes: are pressure valves that release part of the earth’s energy.
When two plates move apart causing a gap, hot molten rock - called lava - rises up
between them. This type of volcano occurs on the ocean floor, so it is mostly
invisible. Only if the amount of magma is big enough, it rises above the surface of
the ocean and an island is created. A long time ago, Iceland was formed this way.
If two plates collide and one plate is forced beneath the other plate, the friction
causes the first to melt and magma rises up. Only a small part of the volcanoes on
earth are formed like this, but their eruptions are the most violent and dangerous
Sometimes volcanoes also form in the middle of the plates, in so-called hotspots.
These are places that are connected to the hot mantle of the earth by channels.
The Hawaiian volcanoes belong to this group.
Volcanoes are fairly simple structures. They are usually fed by a large reserve of
magma that collects deep underground in a cavity called a magma chamber. The
magma is relatively bouyant compared to the surrounding rock, so it naturally
pushes upward. When pressures are high enough and there is enough gas buildup,
the magma shoots through a long shaft called the central valveand out the
crater/dome of the volcano, or out through secondary shafts or ’fissures’ that lead
out the sides of the volcano.
Eruptions can bury villages, streams and a huge area around them. They can kill
people and its animal inhabitants.
Cinder Cone: the smallest and most common type of volcano. Bits of lava,
cinders and ash that are hurled out of the volcano build up around the crater. It
then shapes a bumpy cone-shaped volcano
Shield Cone: the largest volcanoes in the world!! These have long sloping sides
made from the free flowing lava. The Hawaiian Islands are made out of just the tops
of the shield cones!!
Composite Cone: are some of the most famous and violent types of volcano. Are
made from alternating layers of cinder rock and hardened lava.

Earthquakes: occur when there is a release of energy at a point inside the earth’s
crust ( the focus ) which triggers the tectonic plates to scrape past each other
causing a quaking of the ground. Seismic waves are then sent out and 3 main types
occur. P waves: fast moving compression waves, (move in a pattern much like a
caterpillar) are the first ones to reach the surface of the earth. S waves: shear
waves are slower moving, (and vibrate side to side) and can not move through
water. L waves: surface waves are the slowest types of waves, and travel along
the surface of the earth.
Scientists gather information about the earth by measuring vibrations from
To measure these vibrations you use a Seismograph.
Most earthquakes occur on the ocean floor, and are so small
that most are never felt.
Epicentre: this is the point on land directly above where
the earthquakes focus is.
Scars can be left behind on the land where the fault(crack
in earth/edge of tectonic plates) is, the quake can change
direction of flow of streams, roads can crack, buildings can collapse, and many
people are left homeless, injured or dead.
Mountains: When two slabs of the Earth's crust smash into each other the land
can be pushed upwards, forming mountains. Many of the greatest mountain ranges
of the world have formed because of enormous collisions between continents.
Foldinghappens when two pieces of a plate come together and push against each
other. The high points of the ripples are called anticlines. The low points of the
ripples are synclines. A dip slipis when two pieces of land change their vertical (up
and down) position compared to each other. After the movement, one side is higher
than the other side. A strike slip happens when two pieces of land move
horizontally (side to side) to each other. That movement would be left or right
compared to the other piece.
Heights of mountains are generally given as heights above sea level.
Mountains occur more often in oceans than on land; some islands are the peaks of
mountains coming out of the water.
About 80 per cent of our planet's fresh water originates in the mountains.

SAFETY: Make sure all students are in one area as to keep an eye on them.
Follow computer lab behavioral rules.

MATERIALS: computer lab with internet access, paper, pen.

4. Explanation Activity:
Cartoon Deconstruction(1 CLASS)
OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to look at cartoons shown to them, and
discuss the points that the artist is trying to get across relating to tectonic
plates/their effects.
Students will review content previously learned and tie it together to come up
with their own ideas based on what they already know.

ACTIVITY: Students will be shown various cartoons (see appendix 1) either

on overheads or the smartboard/LCD projector, and through discussion point
out the humour in the cartoon based on the knowledge they already have.
Teacher led questioning should provoke facts that they have learned through
previous activity and tie it together for a whole picture. Information as
noted in previous activity should be gone over for all students to add to notes
if needed. Some sample questions may be: What is the humour seen in this?
What truth is there in it? What other information do we know about this topic
that we learned through previous activities like our hotlist search? If the
Earth's crust separates at divergent boundaries and creates new crust, why
doesn't the Earth "grow" in size? What happens when two land masses
meet? Are all volcanoes dangerous? What are the effects on the
environment and the people in the area? What can we do to prepare for
these events occurring(earthquakes/volcanoes)? (answers are included in
science info)
Appendix 1:
See previous, information is reviewed, and new points are made(included in
previous info)

MATERIALS: overhead, previous information

5. Extension Activity:
Plan of Action(1 CLASS)
OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to learn how to prepare for either an
earthquake/volcano eruption.
Students will make a plan of action in case of earthquake/volcano eruption.

ACTIVITY: students will research/use their previous knowledge about either

a volcano eruption or earthquake, and design a plan of action as if they lived
in a location where evacuation/readiness was expected. Students will learn
more about the human effects of these natural disasters, and how to know
when they may happen, and what to do when they do happen, and put it into
writing or drawing. Students will then get into two common
groups(volcanoes/earthquakes) and discuss what they had come up with.
Within the group, the students will then come up with a scenario and plan to
act out to present to the other half of the class, and a discussion afterwards
will follow with students explaining why they did what they did, and students
will get an idea of what to pay attention to for each natural disaster. Some
questions may be regarding location (the map with pins on it would help),
climate(can be easily researched), and effects of the earthquake/volcanic
eruption (videos were on hotlist) may be asked, but with a few reminders and
extra research, it should be a fairly quick easy activity.


Because the students are left to create these on their own, ina variety of
locations, there will be a variety of answers for this scenario. A few good
plans of action will include: a survival kit located somewhere(food, water,
clothes, money, etc) easy to access in a hurry, a meeting place for family in
case occurs when people are in different locations, a form of transportation, a
timeline for reasonable safety, a location where you can take refuge,
insurance coverage, etc.

MATERIALS: computer access, a large space for acting to be practiced

6. Evaluation Activity:
Newspaper Article(1-2 classes)
OBJECTIVES: Students will produce an article that shows their knowledge
from the whole unit, and that they know how to apply it in a realistic way.
ACTIVITY: students will make up a newspaper article based on the previous
action plans they developed. They are to pretend as if they are a major
volcanologist, or a seismologist, and they writing to a newspaper with a
warning of a volcanic eruption/earthquake about to happen, to tell people
how they can survive if only they prepare. BUT…because there has never
been one in that area in a long time, no one will believe them, unless the
warning is sufficiently backed up with enough information about why it is
happening, and what is happening. Topics such as tectonic plates,
geographical location, and otherimportant information must be described in
the article. Along with the article(1-2 pages in length), ‘photographs’(drawn
by students) may be provided . For Rubric, see appendix 2.

MATERIALS: paper, writing/art materials, computer, printer, etc.

Appendix 2:

Research Report : Newspaper Article

Teacher Name: Ms. Martinuk

Student Name: ________________________________________

CATEGORY 4 3 2 1
Organization Information is very Information is Information is The information
organized with well- organized with well- organized, but appears to be
constructed constructed paragraphs are not disorganized. 8)
paragraphs paragraphs. well-constructed.

Quality of Information clearly Information clearly Information clearly Information has little
Information relates to the main relates to the main relates to the main or nothing to do with
topic. It includes topic. It provides 1-2 topic. No details the main topic.
several supporting supporting details and/or examples are
details and/or and/or examples. given.

Connectivity The information The information The information Little information

presented covered suited the mostly connected to connected to topics
many areas talked assignment, and the topic, with not talked about in class.
about it class, and connected to many many connections to
suited the topics talked about in previous topics in
assignment, as well class. class.
as showed own
Diagrams & Diagrams and Diagrams and Diagrams and Diagrams and
Illustrations illustrations are neat, illustrations are illustrations are neat illustrations are not
accurate and add to accurate and add to and accurate and accurate OR do not
the reader's the reader's sometimes add to the add to the reader's
understanding of the understanding of the reader's understanding of the
topic. topic. understanding of the topic.
Effort Student displays a Student displays Students assignment Students assignment
great deal of thought quite a bit of effort has some effort, but looks rushed with
and effort put into the put into the more could be added minimal effort
assignment. assignment. not due to time included.