Restless Earth

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A Year 10 module from the Salters’ double award science course. Restless Earth was designed as a short module of four to six lessons. The module begins with stories about earthquakes. This is followed by practical work with rock puzzles to see how information is gathered about past movements in the Earth’s surface. Evidence from folds and faults in rocks is reviewed. A role-play considers the initial resistance to the theory of continental drift and its replacement by ideas about plate tectonics. Evidence for the layered structure of the Earth is studied and students can build model seismographs. This module covers aspects of How Science Works, especially those concerned with the development and acceptance of theories.

Section 1: How do we know that the Earth is restless?
Data is provided about earthquakes past and present. Ideas about sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks are revised through rock puzzles and students can design a poster describing the main rock types. The formation of folds and faults in rocks is related to movements in the Earth’s surface.

Section 2: Plates and Earthquakes
A world map shows the uneven distribution of mountain ranges, earthquakes and volcanoes. The motion of P and S waves is described and simulated and students may construct seismometers. The theory of plate tectonics is introduced through text exercises on some of the evidence used to establish it. Students discuss hazard reduction schemes for areas located on or near geological faults.

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