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P R O J E C T D E S I G N : O V E R V I E W page 1

Name of Project: Investigation of Plate Tectonics Duration: 2 Weeks

Subject/Course: Earth Science Teacher(s): Christyn Garber Grade Level: 9
Other subject areas to be included, if any: Paleontology, Biology, Geography

Key Knowledge and ES.1b, ES1.d, ES.2, ES.7, ES.9

(CCSS or other standards)
Success Skills Critical Thinking/Problem Solving Self-Management
(to be taught and
assessed) Collaboration Other: Communicating Information

Project Summary Over a two-week period, the students will be challenged to provide their own interpretation of how Earth’s continents
(include student role, achieved their current positions. They will work in groups of 4-5 to research different aspects of tectonic theory, the
issue, problem or origin of the Earth’s crust, biostratigraphic markers, and correlation of continents by rock type and geology of the area.
challenge, action taken, They may use any type of format to present their findings to the rest of the class, where they will be graded on the
and purpose/beneficiary) effectiveness of their presentation and the credibility of their interpretation of the Earth’s history.
Driving Question How did the continents get to their current position on Earth?

Entry Event The students will cut apart a map of the Earth and fit them into their own initial version of Pangaea. The students will
then learn that by rearranging the continents in a certain way, they are actually creating a hypothesis.

Products Individual: Each individual will produce one piece of Specific content and competencies to be assessed:
evidence for their group’s theory Credibility of sources, effort put in to individual topic, and
teamwork capability

Team: Each team will create a persuasive presentation to Specific content and competencies to be assessed:
try to convince the judges that their theory is scientifically Collective argumentation skills, quality of work, and
plausible preparedness of presentation

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Making Products Public The students will display their theories to a panel of judges comprised of other science teachers.
(include how the
products will be made
public and who students
will engage with
during/at end of project)

Resources Needed On-site people, facilities: Computer lab, library, Earth Science teacher

Equipment: Computers, printers, models, globes

Materials: Poster board, construction paper, markers, glue, scissors, tape

Community Resources: Museums, local experts

Reflection Methods Journal/Learning Log Focus Group

(how individual, team,
and/or whole class will Whole-Class Discussion Fishbowl Discussion
reflect during/at end of
Survey Other: Post-Presentation Discussions



Project: Investigation of Plate Tectonics
Driving Question: How did the continents get to their current position on Earth?
For more PBL resources visit © 2 0 1 5 B U C K I N S T I T U T E F O R E D U C AT I O N
Final Product(s) Learning Outcomes/Targets Checkpoints/Formative Assessments Instructional Strategies for All Learners
Presentations, knowledge, understanding & success skills needed to check for learning and ensure provided by teacher, other staff, experts; includes
Performances, Products by students to successfully complete products students are on track scaffolds, materials, lessons aligned to learning
and/or Services outcomes and formative assessments
Final Presentation Presentation Software Skills Use of Microsoft or Google Drive is Software skills can be introduced in a
relatively easy, minimal help is needed presentation ahead of time and pamphlets
or forums can be provided to answer
student questions and provide ideas
Communication of Information Data or evidence is presented with Provide guidance during the presentation
arguments and questions on the material creation stage of the project and take an
can be answered by the presenters active role in providing resources

Teamwork All members are participating and taking Monitor group activities, provide tips on
the lead on their specific roles working in groups, make sure groups are
diverse and inclusive

Resource Credibility Make sure databases are being explored Monitor research activities and answer
questions. Provide an introduction to
scientific research and provide step-by-
step instructions for navigating the web

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