Earth's Changing Surface: Changing Earth From Within

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Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the first of three Science Objects in the Earth’s Changing Surface SciPack. It explores the forces within Earth that cause continual changes on its surface. Heat flow from the decay of radioactive isotopes and the gravitational energy from Earth’s original formation produce movement of the tectonic plates, which cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and create mountains and ocean basins.

  • Elementary
  • Middle

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Reviews (15)
  • on Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:15 AM

This science object is a good introduction to the Plate Tectonics science object. I reviewed the objects in reverse and I felt like I was missing something. This science object introduction is what I missed!

Robin Willig  (Rye Brook, NY)
Robin Willig (Rye Brook, NY)

  • on Tue Sep 02, 2014 5:29 AM

I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Earth's Changing Surface: Changing Earth From Within Science Object will help me re-learn, refresh, or learn for the first time some critical science concepts I will have to know to obtain my Science Educator credentials. I appreciate that I can complete them at my own pace, and that, if used as park of a SciPack, I have access to a content expert to go to for help. The NSTA Learning Center Science Objects are really beneficial!

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:55 PM

Although I haven't used this in the classroom yet, I am impressed with the detail and the layout of the pages. It covers a variety of topics in the same unit I teach in the classroom. It also provides great questions for students to think. I also like the quiz at the end. Great resource with a wonderful audio component as well.

Laura DeFranco
Laura DeFranco

  • on Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:21 AM

This resource and the ones like it are particularly valuable for me for several reasons. First, I like the table of contents off to the left, which all ow me to keep track of what is coming up and see the entire lesson at once. Also, it is multisensory..enaging several senses. Finally, they are self paced, which I really need with my busy lifestyle.

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Wed May 28, 2014 6:54 PM

This was great! Very well done!

Willaim Netsch
Willaim Netsch

  • on Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:55 PM

I'm only about half-way through this science object, but I'm very impressed with its format! The methodology of how we know what we know is intermixed with the information, allowing the reader to understand the concepts by drawing conclusions from the evidence. This object is great for teachers, it would be great to utilize this style in the classroom!

Jennifer M Tanko
Jennifer M Tanko

  • on Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:59 PM

From volcanoes up close (shield volcanoes, cinder volcanoes, and composite volcanoes), to the evidence from earthquakes, this resource takes a challenging topic and breaks it down into simple components for educators new to Earth Science (like myself). The science object does a good job analyzing the components of the Earth; lithosphere/crust, asthenosphere/mantle, outer core, and inner core; which can be used with scholars in small groups or individually. There is also a detail explanation of how and why the Earth's interior became and remains so hot. Lastly, educators will welcome the refresher content on divergent, convergent, and transform boundaries and the processes that occur at the each. Good/Solid Resource!

Lorrie Armfield  (Laurel, MD)
Lorrie Armfield (Laurel, MD)

  • on Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:58 PM

This Scienc Object is full of usefull information. From types of volcanoes to the types of boundaries found within the earth's surface. Pictures, graphs and images help to explain concepts thoroughly.

Leslie  (Louisville, KY)
Leslie (Louisville, KY)

  • on Sat Oct 23, 2010 2:11 PM

Thorough explanation of the processes that occur at plate boundaries, including volcanoes, earthquakes, the types of plate boundaries, and their interactions. Excellent overview of plate tectonics which includes self-quizzes. This resource would be a good place to begin if you are teaching about plate tectonics for the first time and need background knowledge.

Patricia McGinnis  (Pottstown, PA)
Patricia McGinnis (Pottstown, PA)

  • on Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:21 PM

I think that this is a great site to help teach you more about how the Earth's plates and volcanoes are constantly changing. It's easy to follow and can be a great site to watch before teaching these topics.

Leanne Palmer  (, )
Leanne Palmer (, )

  • on Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:18 AM

Earth'shanging surface

Marilyn Williams
Marilyn Williams

  • on Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:13 PM

I just finished teaching a tiny glimmer of this info to my 3rd graders. This info was of course way too deep for them and me but I have a much better understanding of how volcanoes and earthquakes are formed It also gives you misconception of Elem. students which I am sure many of mine have. .

Judy Lucadou
Judy Lucadou

  • on Fri Sep 19, 2014 10:50 PM

There's not a ton of information but this is a series so that helps

Christina Torango
Christina Torango

  • on Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:49 PM

This was a very informative Science Object that goes perfectly well with the curriculum I teach in 5th grade. We talk about most of the things that were covererd in this object, and it was very helpful to have the concepts illustrated in a very detailed manner from a teacher standpoint.

Brandy Stewart
Brandy Stewart

  • on Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:31 AM

This resource is a good resource for an introduction to the changing of Earth's surface. It includes vocabulary, illustrations, and real photos. The most impressive parts are the in motion illustrations of P/S waves and the interactive of the water draining from the Earth's surface to reveal the surface.


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