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Storyline Narrative 7.2.5

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.

Examples could include identifying patterns on maps of earthquakes and volcanoes relative to plate boundaries, the shapes of the continents, the locations of ocean structures (including mountains, volcanoes, faults, and trenches), and similarities of rock and fossil types on different continents.

Student Friendly Objective: I can ask questions and analyze and interpret data that shows the patterns between plate tectonics and events like earthquakes, the features of the crust and the distribution of fossils.

Anchor Phenomenon: Fossils of the same plant, Glossopteris have been found in Australia, Antarctica, India, South Africa, and South America, even though these continents have different climates and are all separated by oceans.

Big Idea: Patterns found on Earth are evidence of plate tectonics

Students are engaged by analyzing and interpreting data to find patterns in the shapes of continents and the distribution of fossils and mountain ranges. They will also be researching and analyzing information about Alfred Wegener’s ideas about continental drift (episode 1).

Students explore curated research cites and information sources to obtain information and ask questions regarding the location and frequency of earthquakes and volcanoes and the positions of mountain ranges to explain patterns that give evidence for plate tectonics (episode 2).

In the concluding episode, students will elaborate by analyzing the data they have collected and write a CER (claim, evidence, reasoning) connecting plate tectonics and their research (episode 3).

Evaluation of student proficiency is determined by the assessment.

Conceptual Understandings

Evidence points to the Continental Drift theory: the continents were once fitted together, including fossils and mountain ranges distribution.

How does the Earth’s crust move?


Students cut out the continents and fit them together like a puzzle. They also analyze and interpret data for evidence of crust movement.

Episode 1


What evidence can I find that the Earth’s crust is moving?

Anchor 1

Episode 2


How does the Earth’s crust move?


Students observe earthquakes and volcanic eruptions around the world to come up with patterns.

Conceptual Understandings

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain formation occur in a pattern around plate boundaries.

How does the evidence support the idea that the earth’s crust move?

Anchor 2

Conceptual Understandings

Patterns of earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain formation, and rock and fossil distribution are all evidence of plate tectonics.


Students will work in groups to write a CER that shows the patterns between plate tectonics and the research they’ve done in episodes 1 and 2.

Episode 3


How does the evidence support the idea that the earth’s crust moves?

Anchor 3
Anchor 4
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