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Plate Tectonics and Middle School Science NGSS MS-ESS2-2 and MS-ESS2-3

Plate Tectonics for Middle School Science

Plate tectonics is a theory explaining the structure of the earth’s crust and many associated phenomena as resulting from the interaction of rigid lithospheric plates which move slowly over the underlying mantle.

Students need engaging experiences with science! Students in 6th through 8th grade really benefit from having engaging labs, high-quality nonfiction text to read, and clever interactive notebook flaps and folds. Recently I was asked how I plan science for older kids.  So, here I will share my process.

plate tectonics

I was looking at the following science standards for NGSS

MS-ESS2-2. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.
MS-ESS2-3.
Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions
I found similar standards for Utah SEEd.
 
Utah SEEd
Standard 7.2.5
Ask questions and analyze and interpret data about the patterns between plate tectonics and:
(1)The occurrence of earthquakes and volcanoes.
(2)Continental and ocean floor features.
(3)The distribution of rocks and fossils.
Standard 7.2.2 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales. Examples of processes that occur at varying time scales could include slow plate motions or rapid landslides. Examples of processes that occur at varying spatial scales could include uplift of a mountain range or deposition of fine sediments.
 
transform boundaries
 
When I saw these I thought there has got to be a way to make this more engaging, integrate some literacy and language arts and involve the students in critical thinking. 
 
sea floor spreading
I thought to myself, what are the science concepts related to these standards:
 
  • Science Concepts Addressed Include:
  • Layers of the Earth
  • Plate Tectonics
  • Plate Boundaries
  • Divergent Boundaries
  • Convergent Boundaries
  • Transform Boundaries
  • Mid Ocean Ridges
  • Seafloor spreading
  • Subduction
  • The Continental Margin
  • Constructing and Explanation Based on Evidence
  • Research
  • Making Inferences
  • Looking at Fossil Evidence
  • Making an Argument from Evidence
  • Continent and Ocean Floor Features
  • plate tectonics middle school
 
I developed some nonfiction passages and aligned it with a CLOSE reading strategy.
text passages plate tectonics
I developed some response pages with text-dependent questions and some clever interactive notebook inserts. 
earth's layers
 
I then put these together with some other meaningful activities like QR code Research and writing activities that align with CCSS for Reading informational text and Writing.
 
Here are two of the resources I have put together. The first one is a large unit on Plate Tectonics.  
middle school plate tectonics

 This unit aligns with NGSS MS-ESS2-2 and MS-ESS2-3 and Utah SEEd 7.2.2 and 7.2.5

Plate Tectonics NGSS MS-ESS2-2 and MS-ESS2-3The other one that I think aligns well with these standards is
pangea earth science middle school
pangea earth science middle school
Thank you for visiting. Middle-school-students need engaging materials and experiences too!  

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FREE Bald Eagle Reading Informational Text Unit

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I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!

 
Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit

Tina S

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:05:39-06:00

Tina S

I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!   Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit
The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!

 
Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2

Richard S

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:07:52-06:00

Richard S

The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!   Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2
As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.

 
Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4

Sharon M

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:24:44-06:00

Sharon M

As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.   Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4
Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.

 
Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning

Expedition Fourth

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
2020-11-03T20:44:55-07:00

Expedition Fourth

Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.   Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning
My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.

 
Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer

Heidi J

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
2020-11-03T20:45:49-07:00

Heidi J

My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.   Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer
5
3
Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams