Tectonic Plate Activity for Kids

Week 25: We used crackers and cream cheese to show how tectonic plates move.

Volcanoes, earthquakes, mountains are all related through tectonic plates. Tectonic plates are in constant motion. They smash together, drift apart, slip beneath one another and sometimes crack. Whenever and wherever they move earthquakes occur. Volcanoes are formed by the magma seeping out anywhere it has an opportunity. Mountains form when two plates smash together and crumple raising the ground between them.

Quake!: Disaster in San Francisco, 1906 is a fictional story written for children. During the earthquake a young Jewish boy is separated from his family. Soon after the quake, he rescues and befriends a young Chinese boy. Together the two face discrimination, and feel the welcome of people from other backgrounds on their journeys to locate their families. It was an exciting book to read in conjunction with this activity.

Just days before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake a filmmaker from Chicago mounted a camera on a street car and set the car in motion while recording. The film captures the chaos of the busy city with horse drawn carriages, motor cars, street cars, few traffic rules, no cross walks and people everywhere.

There is a stark contrast between the above movie and this one which shows still photos of the earthquake damage.

Plate Tectonics Activity

Several blogs have detailed similar activities.
Studying Plate Tectonics at Life's Adventures
Earth Science: Plate Movements and Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Mountain Making at The Homeschool Den
How Mountains are Made at We Made That

Cream cheese (magma) was spread on a plate and two crackers (tectonic plates) were placed on the top.

Part 1

As the plates pushed together and one slipped beneath, magma between the plates was forced up. (Pacific Ring of Fire).

Part 2
This time the crackers were moistened with water so they would fold.

 As two plates crash into each other they fold and the ground raised between them. (Himalaya Mountains)

Stay tuned to Highhill Education. There are more volcano and plate tectonic activities coming in the next few weeks.

Here's a list of excellent blog hops to get even more educational activity ideas.

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