Plate Tectonics Activities for Middle School Science

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

The Plate Tectonics 5E Lesson includes materials for every "E" phase, including the Plate Tectonics 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 Plate Tectonics 5E Lesson, students will be able to describe how plate tectonics causes major geological events such as ocean basins, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain building. They will be able to differentiate between convergent, divergent, and transform plate boundaries.


Distance-Learning Ready

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


Students will use Google Earth to investigate a variety of crustal features formed at the different plate boundaries.


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


Distance-Learning Ready

Sub Plans


The Plate Tectonics Sub Plan is a complete lesson that takes students through a warm-up, reading passage, independent activity, extension activities, and an assessment.

The worksheets are designed to make your sub day a breeze for you, your students, and the substitute teacher. They are also perfect for distance learning.



Distance-Learning Ready


Plate Tectonics Classroom Experiences

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

The Plate Tectonics 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 how plate tectonics causes major geological events such as ocean basin formation, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain building; to describe the historical development of evidence that supports plate tectonic theory; to construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales; and to 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 Seismic Catastrophe STEM Challenge uses the engineering design process to design a five story building that can withstand an earthquake.


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 Seismic Catastrophe 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 plate tectonics unit. This topic is only one of more than 100 middle school science topics included in the Kesler Science Membership.

Essential Questions
  • What is plate tectonics?
  • What are the three types of plate boundaries?
  • What crustal features are formed at plate boundaries?
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 6.10 C - Identify the major tectonic plates, including Eurasian, African, Indo-Australian, Pacific, North American, and South American
  • TEKS Science 6.10 D - Describe how plate tectonics causes major geological events such as ocean basin formation, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain building
  • TEKS Science 8.9 B - Relate plate tectonics to the formation of crustal features

access every resource.

Kesler Science Membership

Imagine never having to search for another middle school science lesson again.  The membership gives you access to ALL of the Kesler Science products in one place (Yes, including everything above).  

Say goodbye to long hours of lesson prep.