Pangea and continental drift are so fun to learn about. Earth’s surface has changed over time. Students will use fossil evidence to examine changes to Earth’s surface. Students will enjoy this great hands-on, research-based project to get students thinking about fossil records and how they help to show geologic changes over time. See more about teaching Pangea here.
Students will learn about the theory of Pangea and Continental Drift through a slide show presentation. They will collect evidence from the presentation and their own research using QR codes or URLs. The students will then look at the fossil evidence and try to match up the ancient landmass pieces to see if they can form the supercontinent, Pangea. This activity with fossil evidence is really engaging! All you have to do is print it out and follow the directions.
Students will reflect on the fossil evidence and changes to the Earth’s surface in interactive notebook flaps and folds and response pages that get them to think about the pros and cons of Alfred Wegener’s theory of Continental Drift. Students will determine the flaw in Wegener’s theory and be introduced to the idea of plate tectonics, subduction, and seafloor spreading. They will understand that materials like rock and earth are being constantly recycled through seafloor spreading and subduction.
This resource has a lesson plan, slide show, printable hands-on activity on using fossil evidence, QR code research, response pages, and interactive notebook flaps.
This resource is designed to meet the NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: History of The Planet Earth, Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions, and Earth’s Materials and Systems.
This resource is designed to meet the standard for NGSS Earths Systems:
MS-ESS2-2. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.
Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions
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.