Plate Tectonics: Third Grade Lesson Plans and Activities

This Plate Tectonics: Third Grade Lesson Plans and Activities unit also includes:

Third graders examine plate movements and boundaries with a lab that demonstrates how volcanoes and earthquakes are formed. It presents different types of stresses an object can withstand through a hands-on experiment with clay to demonstrate the three major stresses associated with plate boundaries—converging, diverging, and transform.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Incorporate vocabulary words onto a word wall; converging, crust, diverging, inner core, outer core, mantle, transform, plate tectonics, fault, stress, and pressure 
  • Have individuals write an explanatory paragraph about their myth drawings
Classroom Considerations

  • The third in a series of four lessons that make up a unit on the plate tectonics cycle
  • Have pupils refer to pages 7-8 in the attached workbook for this portion
  • Acquire enough lab materials prior to teaching

  • Post-lab engages learners in creating a myth about how Earth reacts to stress, promoting creativity and application of new-found knowledge
  • A workbook for the entire unit is included below

  • Teachers may need additional background information in order to support a more full-bodied lesson
Common Core