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Modeling Convection Currents

Kit #436S
Modeling Convection Currents

Students learn about the flow of energy and the forces that are thought to drive the movement of Earth’s lithospheric plates. They use a model to discover the conditions necessary for convection to take place, and relate their findings to the flow of energy and resulting movement of matter in Earth’s interior. Students also use a model to learn about the role of gravity in plate motion. This activity provides a formal assessment opportunity for Performance Expectation MS-ESS2-3.

Details at a Glance

  • 2 Days | 2 ~50 minute class periods
  • 1 Activity
  • Accommodates 5 classes, each with 6 groups of 5 students
  • Consumables service 150 students
  • Meets our criteria for supporting literacy
  • Includes digital resources
  • Developed in partnership with SEPUP
  • Requires a water source

Complete Kit Equipment Package

Modeling Convection Currents (Developed by SEPUP)

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Scientific Concepts

Disciplinary Core Ideas
•MS-ESS1.C The History of Planet Earth
•MS-ESS2.A Earth’s Materials and Systems
•MS-ESS2.B Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions
Science and Engineering Practices
•Developing and Using Models
•Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
•Analyzing and Interpreting Data
•Constructing Explanations
•Connections to Nature of Science: Scientific Knowledge Is Based on Empirical Evidence
Crosscutting Concepts
•Cause and Effect
•Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
•Systems and System Models
•Energy and Matter
•Structure and Function
•Stability and Change
•Connections to Nature of Science: Science Is a Human Endeavor
•Connections to Nature of Science: Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems
KEY VOCABULARY: convection, gravity, thermal energy

Guides & Student Sheets

Our kits and modules provide you with everything you need so you can open, review, and teach the material confidently the next day.

  • Full downloadable Teacher Guide with background information, detailed instruction, example data and answers
  • Downloadable Student Sheets with age appropriate background information, full procedure(s), and analysis questions
  • All materials necessary to carry out the investigation
  • Safety Data Sheets

Kit Components

  • 1 Teacher’s Manual with MSDS
  • 28 Student Worksheets and Guides
  • 12 Plastic cups, 9-oz
  • 6 Plastic syringes, 20-cc
  • 6 Plastic cups with circular depression, LAB-AIDS®
  • 6 Vials with 2-holed cap, Small
  • 6 Red food coloring, l5-mL bottles of
  • 1 Transparency: Layers of the Earth
  • Not included and needed for instruction: Several textbooks (approximately 1 inch thick), paper towels and/or a sponge.

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