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STC Secondary: Exploring Plate Tectonics

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Exploring Plate Tectonics not only helps students clarify what they already know about earthquakes, volcanoes, and plate tectonics, it deepens their understanding of their world and some of the powerful natural events that significantly affect it. By performing a series of engaging hands-on activities based on the manipulation of simple models and the study of maps, students extend and enrich their knowledge of the structure of the earth's interior and crust.

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Exploring Plate Tectonics not only helps students clarify what they already know about earthquakes, volcanoes, and plate tectonics, it deepens their understanding of their world and some of the powerful natural events that significantly affect it. By performing a series of engaging hands-on activities based on the manipulation of simple models and the study of maps, students extend and enrich their knowledge of the structure of the earth's interior and crust.

Benefits of kit use:

  • Conceptual sequence helps students retain and apply knowledge and experience to problem-solving strategies in new contexts
  • Completes hands-on activities with lower levels of student disruptions, allowing teachers to summarize the results and meaning of the activities
  • Supports STEM initiatives as students work to develop 21st-century skills in science, math, technology, and engineering to prepare for careers in the global marketplace
  • Fosters a positive attitude toward science

STC-Secondary™ is a 16-unit, inquiry-centered middle school science curriculum developed by the National Science Resources Center (NSRC), an organization of the Smithsonian Institution. Each STC-Secondary™ unit provides opportunities for students to experience scientific phenomena firsthand. A comprehensive, research-based curriculum, STC-Secondary™ is aligned with the National Science Education Standards (NSES) of the National Research Council (NRC).

As students progress through a series of experiences, they compile evidence for the theory of plate tectonics, including patterns of earthquakes, shapes of the continents, paleomagnetism, the fossil record, and convection of the mantle. They also investigate different types of volcanoes, how they form, and how they affect the land and life around them. As students take more responsibility for their own learning, they plan and conduct their own procedures, devise their own tables, and analyze the results they obtain.

Each lesson in Exploring Plate Tectonics builds on skills and concepts presented in previous lessons. The unit begins with an assessment of students' current understanding of the topic and ends with performance-based and written assessments.

 
 
 
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