Earth Movers

Earth Movers Photo Credit: USGS


The continents have not always been in the locations they are today. Scientists believe that there was once a supercontinent on Earth and that it gradually broke apart and the various pieces drifted until they reached their current locations. How did they do this? Read on to find out!


Begin by going to and reading Remembering Loma Prieta. As you read this resource, answer these questions on your Earth Movers student sheet:

  • What is the San Andreas fault?
  • How did the plates cause the earthquake?
  • Can you think of other examples where there is a strain between two things that results in a violent release?

Now go to and read Earthforce in the Core. When you are done, draw a diagram of the layers of the Earth in the space provided on your student sheet. Label the inner core, outer core, mantle, lithosphere, and crust, which is the upper part of the lithosphere. Then answer these questions on your student sheet:

  • Which layer are the plates in?
  • Which layer do the plates "float" or move on?
  • How do you think the moving plates affect the layer of earth above them?

Now read Earthforce in the Crust and write down the definition of plate tectonics on your student sheet.

Once you're done, go to and read Plate Tectonics. Your teacher will then assign you to a group. Work with your group to take a look at The Breakup of Pangaea, which has maps depicting continental drift. Follow the directions on your Plate Tectonics student sheet to complete the activity described there.

After you have finished the plate tectonics activity, go to and read Faults. You should record, with diagrams and descriptions, the three types of faults.

Finally, go to and read Birth of the Himalaya and answer these questions on your Plate Tectonics student sheet:

  • How tall is Mt. Everest? Has it always been the same height? If not, is it still growing? At what rate is it growing?
  • How was Mt. Everest formed?
  • Do you think earthquakes occur in the Himalaya's?

This esheet is a part of the Earth Movers lesson.

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