Continental Drift Theory Activities for Middle School Science

The resources below will provide students a comprehensive understanding of continental drift theory.  All of the following lessons are also included in the Kesler Science Membership.

The Continental Drift Theory 5E Lesson includes materials for every "E" phase, including the Continental Drift Theory Station Lab for Exploration and an interactive PowerPoint with digital INB templates for Explanation.


The lesson also includes introduction materials for Engagement, student-choice project ideas for Elaboration, and assessments for Evaluation.


After completing the Continental Drift Theory 5E Lesson, students will be able to describe the historical development of evidence that supports plate tectonic theory and recognize that fossils, climate, landforms, glaciers, and continental fit all played a significant role in the plate tectonic theory.


Distance-Learning Ready

The Continental Drift Theory Inquiry Lab is a hands-on activity that is differentiated for advanced, on-level, and modified middle school students.


Students will explore artifacts supporting Continental Drift Theory (also called the Plate Tectonic Theory), then model continental drift with shaving cream.


The Continental Drift Theory Inquiry Lab includes
a brief reading passage, comprehension checks, 
hands-on activities, reflection questions, and a CER conclusion.


Distance-Learning Ready


Continental Drift Theory Classroom Experiences

Create a powerful student experience to help solidify students' understanding about continental drift theory. All of the following experiences are also included in the Kesler Science Membership.

The Plate Tectonics and Continental Drift Escape Room is an immersive experience for your students. It allows them to demonstrate their knowledge of plate tectonics and Wegener's continental drift theory in a fun and engaging way.

Students must use what they have learned to describe the historical development of evidence that supports plate tectonic theory; describe how plate tectonics causes major geological events such as ocean basin formation, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain building; construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales; and analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions to complete the escape room.

 


Distance-Learning Ready

stem challenges

The Project Drift Away STEM Challenge uses the engineering design process to create an attractive model for the grand opening of a laboratory that highlights the major pieces of evidence supporting continental drift theory.


Students will be using collaborative skills such as brainstorming with their peers and reflecting on their progress during the project.


At the end of the Project Drift Away STEM challenge, students are given an opportunity to share their projects outside of the classroom.


Year-Round Resources


These year-round activities will increase your students' understanding of many middle school science topics.  All of these activities are also included in the Kesler Science Membership.

You're not alone if your students struggle with understanding graphs, charts, and tables. It's a skill that takes an enormous amount of practice. This resource will help students build a strong foundation in analyzing data and creating their own data visualizations.

These middle school science bell ringers are an excellent way to engage your students as soon as they walk into your classroom. This comprehensive FULL YEAR resource includes everything you need to start off each science class with an interesting warm-up activity.

Each game board has been carefully designed to keep students engaged. There are 10 different action spaces on each board and dozens of question cards. All of the actions are related to science concepts and keep the students motivated throughout the game.

Each game is ready to play. Simply print out the board and the cards and let the students enjoy reviewing nine different units.


Essential Questions and Standards

Below are the essential questions and standards associated with the lessons and activities included in the continental drift theory unit. This topic is only one of more than 100 middle school science topics included in the Kesler Science Membership.

Essential Questions
  • Who is Alfred Wegener?
  • What is the historical evidence that supports the Continental Drift Theory?
  • What causes the movement of the continents?
Standards
  • MS ESS2-2 - Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales
  • TEKS Science 8.9 A - Describe the historical development of evidence that supports plate tectonic theory

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Kesler Science Membership

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