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Continents

The continents of earth are home to all land creatures. Which continent is the largest? The smallest? Which continent has the most people? The fewest people? Which continent is overall the coldest? The warmest? What is Pangaea and how is it related to our present-day continents?

The earth's continents (along with its oceans and mountains) are formed by moving plates. The earth's crust is made up of a jigsaw puzzle of plates floating on partially molten rock in the upper mantle. Heat and currents in the molten rock push the plates around. This movement shapes the earth. Where plates collide, they push up mountains. Where plates pull apart, lava wells out, creating new land.

Sample some of the following activities to learn more about continents of the world.

 

Places To Go    People To See    Things To Do    Teacher Resources    Bibliography

Places To Go

The following are places to go (some real and some virtual) to find out about continents.

Highest Mountains in the World
A list of the higest mountains in the world, from your About.com Guide to Geography.
The Panama Canal
Take a virtual tour of the greatest engineering marvels of all time. The Panama Canal separated two continents and made it possible for increased ocean travel and commerce.
OneWorld Classrooms
OneWorld Classrooms partners K-12 classrooms from around the world and provides free curriculum-based online travel resources about the Amazon Rain Forest, Africa, the Galapagos Islands, the Arctic and China.
Ozone Hole Tour
The Ozone Hole Tour is a multimedia educational journey of discovery. Find out about the history of the discovery of the hole, the science behind it and what scientists are doing to understand it.
Natural Wonders
Visit a natural wonder on each of the seven continents:

 

People To See

 Ask-A-Geologist
Ask your question about geology to one of these geologists from the U.S. Geological Survey.
MorrisMurdock Travel
Talk to a travel agent. What countries/destinations are the most popular vacation spots?
South-Pole
Antarctica is the remotest and most uninhabitable area on earth. Meet some of the explorers who have braved the harsh conditions to learn about this region.
Volcanologists
Talk with a Volcanologist, they know all about plate tectonics. Ask them anything.

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Things To Do

Crossroads of the Continents
An introduction to the historical, scientific, and geological environment. Wander through the exhibit as you would in a real museum.
Historical Estimates of World Population
How many people were estimated to be in the world in the year 1000 B.C.? How many people were in the world in the year 1 A.D.? (All of the numbers reflect millions of people).
MapMaker Page Maps
Customize one-page maps and download, email, print, or share!
Olduvai Gorge
Find out why the gorge on the continent of Africa is called the "Cradle of Mankind."
Utah's Online Library
Scientists think that the seven continents were, at one time, one big continent called Pangaea. Using the information resources find out more about Pangaea.
World Population Clock
From the clock projection, find out how many people there are in the world right this very second.
World Vital Events
In the world, there are 4.2 babies born every second. There are 250 babies born every minute and 15,008 babies born every hour. How many people die every second? Every minute? Every hour? Are there more babies born every day than people dying every day?

 

Teacher Resources

 

Bibliography

  • Chester, Jonathan. A For Antarctica. Berkeley, Calif.: Tricycle Press, c1995.
  • Cooper, Rod. Journey Through Australia. Mahwah, N.J.: Troll Associates, c1994.
  • Bruycker, Daniel de. Africa. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's, 1994.
  • Hammond Incorporated. Hammond odyssey atlas of North America. Maplewood, N.J.: Hammond Incorporated, 1994.
  • Heinrichs, Ann. Australia. New York: Children's Press, c1998.
  • Lowe, David. Australia. Austin, Tex.: Raintree Steck-Vaughn, c1997.
  • Macdonald, Fiona. Marco Polo: A Journey Through China. New York: Franklin Watts, 1998.
  • McLeish, Ewan. South America. Austin, Tex.: Raintree Steck-Vaughn, c1997.
  • Meisel, Jacqueline Drobis. Australia: The Land Down Under. New York : Benchmark Books, 1998.
  • National Geographic. National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers. Washington, D.C. National Geographic, 1998.
  • Petersen, David. South America. New York: Children's Press, c1998.
  • Petersen, David. Africa. New York: Children's Press, 1998.
  • Sammis, Fran. North America. New York: Benchmark Books, c1999.