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Earth & Space Science: About the Course

Teacher-Talk EarthSpace

[Channel-talkearthspace] plate tectonic models

From: Cindy Lee Duckert <duckert@focol.org>
Date: Wed Jul 05 2006 - 12:43:55 EDT
X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Version 7.0.1.0

At 11:00 AM 7/5/2006, Melissa McCann wrote:
> Regarding session 4 and how to introduce plate tectonics to
> students so they may learn from observation, I have 2 ideas.
>
> 1) Heat a pot of soup with crackers floating on top. Cover, or
> nearly cover the surface with the crackers. Observe the crackers
> move relative to one another as the soup heats and bubbles.
>
> 2) Observe a pond with lily pads floating on it. Turn on the
> fountain or toss in a stone to see how the postions of the lily
> pads are affected.
>
> While these suggestions may simulate how the tectonic plates
> shift relative to one another, I am not sure what to suggest to
> represent the composition of the mantle.
>
> Any other ideas?

I can't do this on museum tours where I work, but in more
conventional settings, I have a fairly thick layer of paraffin broken
into plates atop water in a glass 8x8 or 9x13 baking dish. The dish
is atop an overhead projector. If you have thick enough paraffin it
will stay intact even though the water heat from the projector bulb
below it. Adding some glitter to the water helps to see convection
currents. The trick is to adjust paraffin thickness and water
temperature - dependent on your overhead.

This idea came as I was previously using glitter in water in a glass
dish atop an overhead to show the effects of the closing Panamanian
isthmus on ocean currents.

During museum tours, I have taken to referring to the mantle as being
pudding-like. While few of the kids have made pudding and seen it
bubbling, they can relate to its nature as being solid but with some
of the properties of a liquid.

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Received on Wed Jul 5 14:40:07 2006

 

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