Continents Adrift

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Science, Earth and Space Science

Grade 5- 8

Objective

Students learn that Earth's crust consists of sections (plates) which gradually move, changing the shape and location of the landmasses.

Directions

Preparation
Makes copies of the continent puzzle for groups of students. Cut out the continents and place each set in an envelope.
Procedure
Divide the students into small groups, and give each an envelope with the continent puzzle pieces.
Tell them to place the continents where they are today and then see if they can fit them together as puzzle pieces.
Discussion
Tell the students some background information about Alfred Wegener and his theory of continental drift. See the suggested websites below for information on Wegener and his theory.
Use the transparency pieces to show how he thought Africa and South America fit together.
Use the transparency The Evidence for Continental Drift to show the scientific data that has been collected and how it helps scientists know where the continents once were located.
Follow Up
Have the students do the next activity which is to construct a flipbook showing Continental Drift.

Resources

  • copies of the Continent Puzzle Pieces (see downloadable PDF file) for groups of students
  • transparency of Continent Puzzle Pieces
  • large map showing the relative positions of South America and Africa at present
  • transparencies of The Evidence for Continental Drift (see downloadable PDF file)

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