GO IN DEPTH

The theory of plate tectonics was confirmed by the mapping of earthquakes around the world. In this classroom mapping project, students will use Google Maps to find out if their classroom mapping data also confirms the theory.

Students should use the Earthquake Mapping Project student sheet to help them do the earthquake mapping project. They will locate two major earthquakes from the list on the Earthquake Mapping Project spreadsheet. They will then mark the locations found on the classroom copy Map of Tectonic Plates to answer the question: Do the locations of all the earthquakes mapped fall on or near where two tectonic plates meet (boundary)?

Print out the Map of Tectonic Plates as a classroom copy for students to mark later. If you can, copy this on to larger paper, so it’ll be easier for the class to see and mark.

Give students the Earthquake Mapping Project student sheet for the earthquakes they will locate.

Let students choose (or assign to them) two major earthquakes from the list on the Earthquake Mapping Project spreadsheet (excerpted from Wikipedia list of deadly earthquakes since 1990). If students want to choose different earthquakes than the ones provided on the spreadsheet, they can copy the latitude and longitude from the Wikipedia list and paste it into the Google Maps search engine. They should use the information on the spreadsheet to fill in numbers 1-5 for each earthquake.

To find the earthquakes, students should click on the country name from the spreadsheet, which will take them to the location of the earthquake on Google Maps. They should then zoom in and out to explore where in the world their earthquake occurred.

Students should then mark each earthquake’s location on the classroom map. (They may need help finding the location on the classroom map, since it is not very detailed.)

Using this information, students should answer questions 6-9 on their student sheet for each earthquake.

The point of this assessment if for students to be able to determine whether their mapping data confirms the theory of plate tectonics. Do all the earthquakes correspond to where the tectonic plates meet?

This teacher sheet is a part of the Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea lesson.