Cruising Continents and an Awesome Asthenosphere: How Convection and Geothermal Energy Fuel Earth’s Ever Changing Surface!

Julie Ruziska Tiddy, Science, Carmel Middle School

Final Unit (PDF)     Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)

200 Word Synopsis

This STEAM unit incorporates a study of geothermal energy and its uses through our exploration of plate tectonics. Students will engage with interactive technology as well as produce a technology based presentation. The unit will begin with an investigation of density and how this property helped shape Earth’s structure. Students will create an edible model of Earth using an inquiry based method. Students will investigate the Hypothesis of Continental Drift and examine evidence presented to support this hypothesis. Through hands-on activities students will explore the Theory of Plate Tectonics and how the concept of plate movement contributes to geologic phenomena such as Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Rift Valleys, Coastal Mountains, etc. Students will model plate boundaries using candy bars and incorporate the Claim, Evidence, Reason framework as an explanation analysis throughout the unit. This unit will conclude with a culmination project featuring a technology based presentation and visual model. Students will select a topic incorporating overall concepts of Plate Tectonics, Landforms at Plate Boundaries, Geothermal Energy, or Geothermal Energy systems and uses. Students will create a technology and physical product and presentation. Incorporating geothermal energy into the study of plate tectonics will facilitate understanding of their interdependence.