Science ObjectDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.
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 second of five Science Objects in the Plate Tectonics SciPack. It provides a conceptual understanding of what plates are and how they move, contributing to a constantly changing surface. The Earth’s continents and ocean basins are made up of plates consisting of the crust and the upper part of the mantle. One plate can consist of both continental and oceanic crust. These plates move very slowly (an inch or so per year) on the hot, deformable layer of the mantle beneath them. The outward transfer of Earth’s internal heat drives convection circulation in the mantle. This convection, together with gravitational pull on the plates themselves, causes the plates to move.