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Choosing Research Topics: Plate Tectonics

Life Skills:

  • Thinking & Reasoning

Time Frame:
2 class periods that run 45 minutes each.

Group Size:
Large Groups


Students will read from selected materials about earthquakes, volcanoes, continental features, ocean floor features, rocks and/or fossils, and develop a question to investigate.

Main Curriculum Tie:
Secondary Library Media (6-12)
Strand 2: Standard 1:

Define an information problem.

School Library Catalog to pull appropriate library resources

Web Sites

  • Newsla: Non-fiction Literacy and Current Events
    Current news articles available in text sets in various LexileŽ levels.
  • Utah's Online Library
    Utah's Online Library is a collection of electronic resources. It provides statewide access to newspaper articles, magazines, professional journals, encyclopedias, video, photographs, maps, charts, and graphics.

Background For Teachers:
Teachers should review the listed Curriculum Ties for the Library Media Strand, the Science Strand, and the attached list of articles from Gale Research in Context using Utah's Online Library.


Web Sites

  • Utah's Online Library
    Teachers will look at specific sources on earthquakes, volcanoes, continental drift, ocean floor rifts, fossil evidence and rock evidence.

Student Prior Knowledge:
Students will come prepared with background knowledge on plate tectonics and the structure of the Earth.

Intended Learning Outcomes:
Read about the optional topics, choose a topic of interest, and develop a research question to investigate.

Instructional Procedures:

1. Introduction: Review Plate Tectonics and introduce six topics:

  • Volcanoes
  • Earthquakes
  • Continental features
  • Ocean floor features
  • Rocks
  • Fossils
2. Students select a reading on one of the six topics.

3. Instruction on research process:

  • Citation
  • Read article
  • Summarize
  • Own ideas and questions
4. Students select another reading and cite and take notes on their own.

5. Wrap Up


1. Instruction:

Each student is to select one or more additional readings to cite and take notes. Review process as needed from work turned in from the previous session.

2. Students work on their own.

3. Developing research questions: Have students review the questions they formulated as they read to find a question they would like to research.

4. Wrap Up

Strategies For Diverse Learners:
Selected materials on every topic will be available on many LexileŽ levels and in different formats. Students will choose the topic and sources for their personal research.

Students with more interest or deeper research questions can access additional materials on their topics.

Assessment Plan:
Students will turn in their note pages on the topic of interest and the research question that they developed.

Reviewed for USBE by Sarah Herron

Christina Bates

Created Date :
Sep 08 2016 10:29 AM