Plate tectonics contribute to geological activity and continental movement

Inquiry Questions

Why do earthquakes and volcanic activity occur at plate boundaries?
Why and how do tectonic plates move?
What happens when tectonic plates move?
How did the Australian continent form?

Australian Curriculum


WASP (Woodside Australian Science Project)

The WASP (Woodside Australian Science Project) is an initiative supported by Woodside and Earth Science Western Australia (ESWA). They have developed a Plate Tectonics Package. Within this package there are a range of activities designed to explore plate tectonics.  

Link: WASP Plate Tectonics Package

Science Web

Science Web have created a unit of work focusing on plate tectonics. In this unit students engage with learning objects, use models and simulations and analyse second-hand data to explore the structure of the Earth and to develop an understanding of the theory of plate tectonics. 

Link: Science Web plate tectonics unit

Youtube Video

You Tube: How Plates Originated 

This you tube clip provides an overview of how plates originated. 


Youtube Video

YouTube: Tectonic Plates and Earthquakes 

Produced by Pixeldust Studios, this short you tube clip explains the relationship between Plate Tectonics and Earthquakes.  

Considerations and strategies for EAL Learners

Show students the morphemic breakdown of words where possible, so that they can use this in other instances to decode unfamiliar vocabulary (for example, non + renew + able). 

Predictions involve hypothesising. This requires the use of conditional language structures, which entails using multiple verb structures and tenses.  Provide clear models of conditional sentence structures for EAL/D students to follow (for example, I think that x will happen if y occurs). 

When reading about abstract concepts, EAL/D students may become lost in the information. Use visuals, models and labelled diagrams to support students’ understanding.  

Explicitly model the text structures, language and tenses required through classroom modelling and the use of exemplar texts and/or guided writing outlines.   Scanned versions of the Composing Written Science Texts model texts and language features could be used. 

This topic will require knowledge of the ‘cause and effect’ structure in writing and of words associated with this (for example, causes, makes, leads to, forms, so, results in). Provide examples of these terms and model texts that use them. Create cloze activities that require students to use these words in context. 

Sequencing terms are needed to describe continental drift (for example, first, secondly, next, then, at this time, finally). Provide examples of these terms and model texts that use them. 

When describing abstract concepts, EAL/D students may become lost in the information. Use visuals, models and labelled diagrams to support understanding. 

Much scientific language is abstract and complex, but it is also morphemic (for example, the use of ‘sphere’). Show students how they can break these words down into morphemes (for example, bio – sphere), and from this approximate the meaning of unknown words.