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Middle School Curriculum

Back in 1963 when LAB-AIDS® shipped its first kit, we had a vision, to revolutionize the middle school classroom with one of the first inquiry-based approaches to learning science through hands-on activity. More Info

Plate Tectonics

Plate Tectonics

22-30 (5 weeks)

In the Plate Tectonics unit, students explore the structure of the earth - the core, mantle, and crust - and learn how the slow movements of large plates of the earth’s surface help shape its features, including continents and oceans. They investigate earthquakes and volcanoes as they examine plans to deposit radioactive wastes in areas of relative seismic stability.

Content in Plate Tectonics is organized into 14 activities, as follows:

Activity Title Activity Type Activity Overview
36. Storing Waste Talking it Over Earthquakes and volcanoes are introduced as students analyze evidence related to the storing of nuclear waste.
37. Volcanic Landforms Modeling Students consider the constructive nature of volcanoes as they model the effects of two different kinds of volcanic eruptions.
38. Beneath the Earth’s Surface Reading Students construct diagrams describing earth’s interior before and after they read about volcanoes and earth layers.
39. Earth Time Investigation Students are introduced to the age of earth as they place important events in earth’s history into one of four time periods.
40. The Continent Puzzle Investigation Students use puzzle pieces representing earth’s continents to begin to investigate continental drift.
41. Continental Drift Talking it Over Students consider the historical development of the idea of continental drift.
42. The Theory of Plate Tectonics View and Reflect A short video is viewed on the history of the theory of plate tectonics beginning with Wegener’s idea of continental drift.
43. Measuring Earthquakes Modeling Students model how a seismograph records earthquakes.
44. Mapping Plates Problem Solving Students compare the sizes and shapes of continents to plates as they label major plates and use earthquake and volcano data to plot and draw missing plate boundaries.
45. Understanding Plate Boundaries Reading Students read about how plate tectonics helps explain earth quakes, volcanoes, and mountain ranges.
46. Convection Currents Modeling Students explore the mechanism behind plate motion as they investigate convection currents.
47. Spreading Plates Computer Simulation Students use a computer simulation to investigate what happens when earth’s plates move apart over time.
48. Other Types of Plate Motion Computer Simulation Students use a computer simulation to investigate what happens when earth’s plates collide and slide past each other.
49. Comparing Site Risk Talking it Over Students use what they learned to compare storing nuclear waste at three different sites, including Yucca Mountain.

LAB-AIDS® provides several useful tools to guide you and your students through the Plate Tectonics unit:

Plate Tectonics

Student Book

The Plate Tectonics soft cover Student Book guides investigations and provides related readings. The Student Book uses a variety of approaches to make science accessible for all students. SEPUP’s integrated literacy strategies help students process new science content, develop their analytical skills, make connections between related concepts, and express their knowledge orally and in writing.

The built-in assessment system helps teacher’s identify students’ strengths and weaknesses from the beginning of the course. This allows them to adjust activities when needed so that all students get the best chance to build their knowledge and appreciation of science.

Plate Tectonics

LAB-AIDS® Science Lab Notebook

The use of a science journal or notebook in SEPUP is strongly recommended. The journal not only models the way scientists work, but it helps to develop and reinforce students’ science learning and literacy skills.

The LAB-AIDS® Science Lab Notebook is 112 three-hole punched pages which allow students to store the completed pages in their binder. It has a 2 column design and plenty of room for notes and responses to Analysis Questions. Graph Anywhere allows data tables and graphs to be drawn in a fraction of the usual time. The Science Lab Notebook was designed with “Best Practices” in mind.

Plate Tectonics

Complete Materials Package

All SEPUP materials packages are designed with teachers, students and environmental considerations in mind. Traditional laboratory style classrooms are not necessary to teach SEPUP.

Materials packages include most of the items needed for the activities. They support multiple classes – typically up to five classes of 32 students (160 total students) – before consumables need to be replaced. It’s important to note that materials are consumed at various rates; therefore, it will not be necessary to replace all consumable items every year. Exclusive to SEPUP programs are the molded tray liners that keep everything in place and easy to locate – even in a hurry.

Plate Tectonics

Teacher's Guide

The Plate Tectonics Teacher’s Guide takes you through each activity in the Student Book and helps you see the development of concepts within the big picture of the units and the course you are teaching. It helps you set up the equipment from the kit, organize the classroom, conduct activities, and manage practical details, all of which enhance students’ learning environment.

The Teacher’s Guide is packaged as a series of loose-leaf binders that you can personalize with annotations, rearrangements, and insertions. The Teacher’s Guide provides full support for teaching the program. Additional support resources can also found in the Teacher’s Guide.

Plate Tectonics

Teacher Resource

The Teacher Resource provides background and suggestions to increase the overall effectiveness of implementing the program across all levels of learners. Sections include: SEPUP’s Approach to Teaching and Learning, Differentiation Strategies for Diverse Learners, Literacy Strategies for Supporting Reading Comprehension and for Enhancing Students’ Writing and finally Comprehensive instruction on the SEPUP Assessment System.

Plate Tectonics

Books Online

Individual, classroom or district licenses can be purchased for access to our student books on-line. It features editable Word documents for each set of Activity Assessment Questions which allows students to e-mail their finished work back to the teacher. Microsoft Word® Tools provide strong support for diverse learners. The Spelling and Grammar Checker uses red and green underline squiggles representing spelling (red) and grammar (green) errors alerting students to potential errors. The thesaurus helps to refine writing as well as expose students to new vocabulary words. Students with poor spelling skills often have difficulty using a dictionary. This feature provides an instant definition for a highlighted word, eliminating the task of dictionary look-up. Students can also use the Thesaurus to find the synonyms of words.

All pages were created using Adobe Acrobat Reader. A great feature of the Adobe program is “The Read Aloud Function”. The program audibly reads the text, allowing the student to follow the reading on the page. You can speed up or slow down the program based on the student’s ability. This helps all students increase their vocabulary.

Plate Tectonics

ExamView® Test Generating Software

ExamView® for Issues & Earth Science makes it easier for educators to use your content to assess, track, and analyze student performance. Comprised of the Test Generator, Test Manager, and Test Player, ExamView® is the industry standard for paper, Internet, and LAN‐based question and test development.

Test Generator Educators can create assessments, quizzes, study guides, and worksheets using multiple question formats, pictures, tables, graphs, charts, and other multimedia elements. Works exclusively with eInstruction’s CPS™ student response systems for real‐time results.

Test Manager Educators collect results and generate comprehension reports in minutes. Test Manager also manages class rosters and automatically collects performance data from the school network to analyze student results and identify areas of concern.

Test Player Gives students the ability to take tests and view study guides over the school network. ExamView® adds even more benefits to your content.

QuickTest Wizard New tests can be created in a matter of minutes with easy step‐by‐step navigation. Simply select the question banks and the number of questions and ExamView® does the rest.

Style Gallery ExamView® tests can be easily formatted to match state or national standardized tests. Simply choose a layout based on predefined formats (e.g., TAKS, FCAT, GED, GMAT, NCLEX, etc.) and print a comprehensive answer sheet.

Multiple Question Formats ExamView® supports 14 question formats. An ExamView® question can contain pictures, graphs, charts, tables, and other multimedia elements. You can create dynamic questions (algorithms) for any subject area which allow infinite customization of a question using mathematical definitions.


Plate Tectonics Item # Price Quantity
All materials for up to 5 classes of 32 students, mobile storage cart, TE/TR DVD, My LAB-AIDS Bookshelf for one teacher, includes 7-year online access to: Teacher's Edition, Teacher Resources, Student Book English/Spanish (E/S), student sheets (E/S), visual aids (E/S), PowerPoints, ExamView, LABsent, and supplemental resources

REFILLS: Average cost is $53.00 after use by at least 160 students
IAES-UD-2000 $1,305.00
7-year online access to: Student Book in English/Spanish (E/S), student sheets (E/S), LABsent, and supplemental resources
IAES-UD-2OLSP-7 $29.95
STUDENT BOOK (softcover) IAES-UD-2SB $29.95
LAB-AIDS SCIENCE LAB NOTEBOOK (bulk pricing up to 55% off) SLN-1 $8.95