Plate Tectonics Made to Order

Plate tectonics changed the field of Earth Sciences Learn about Plate Tectonics!
The Plate Tectonics Made to Order Web Seminar, produced in collaboration with the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, was held on Thursday, November 30, 2006, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. Scripps Researchers Dr. Anthony Koppers and Dr. Christina Symons who are associated with the Enduring Resources on Earth Science Education (ERESE) website were on hand to present.

The seminar examined plate tectonic theory, seamounts, and hot spots utilizing "just in time" resources for teachers to use in teaching these concepts from ERESE, the NSDL Middle School Portal and DLESE Teaching Boxes.

Eighty-eight (88) participants were present in addition to the presenters, the NSDL moderator, and the NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Many active hotspots are located in the center of plates

The presenters talked about plate tectonic boundaries and the basics of plate tectonic theory through the use of maps and illustrations. In studying the ocean floor, the Mid-Atlantic ridge is an example of a divergent boundary that forms new crust. The participants learned that the magnetic polarity in these areas reverses during the formation of these sections of oceanic crust and gives researchers insights on the age and length of these formations. Hot spots, like those found forming the Hawaiian Island chain, are usually formed away from plate boundaries and arise from mantle plumes. Using the ERESE website and other NSDL sites can better demonstrate these concepts in your classroom. All participants received a copy of the NSTA SciGuide on Earth Structures, grades 9-12.

Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:

  • "The chat for this seminar was very vibrant and interesting. I learned some neat tectonic math that I can use with my students."
  • "I enjoyed the graphics and being able to interact with other teachers in the same subject area."
  • "This was the first web seminar I attempted. I'm kind of a technophobe, but this was pretty painless... I think I'll really enjoy some of your other offerings."
  • "I like the interactive [nature of the program] and the ability to be around other active learners! I hadn't been aware of how the plates have changed directions - that was cool!"

Thanks to the participants and the presenters for the learning opportunity, the interactions, and a job well done!

Web Seminar: Plate Tectonics Made to Order - Resources


See a recorded version of the Web Seminar.

PowerPoint Presentation

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    PowerPoint Presentation(6.91 MB)


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