Unit 1: Overview of Plate Tectonics and Volcanoes

Unit 1: Plate Tectonics and Volcanoes

Plate Tectonics and VOlcanoes Lessons - MIDDLE SCHOOL UNIT

Candace Barich, John Sedgwick Middle School; Iva-Jade Tyre, Neah Bay School; Christine Spaulding, Stevens Middle School; Dr. Kareen Borders, South Kitsap School District; Dr. Deborah Kelley, University of Washington

  1. Investigating Ocean Floor Structures (click to access)
  2. Plate Tectonics and the Ocean Floor
  3. Formation Of Underwater Volcanoes
  4. Data Collection Instruments
  5. Axial Seamount: A Superb Example

Plate tectonics drives the face of our planet. Within the oceans, seafloor spreading results in the longest mountain chain on Earth, accounting for >70% of volcanism on Earth. Within these dynamic environments, hidden beneath the waves, are some of the most extreme environments known – underwater hot springs hosting novel organisms that thrive off of volcanic gases. In this series of lesson plans, students will:

  • Learn ocean floor structure vocabulary as they diagram and sculpt the ocean floor.
  • Investigate the relationship between plate tectonics and volcanoes
  • Develop an understanding for how underwater volcanoes are formed, conditions of water located near underwater volcanoes, and of some of the underwater volcanoes’ structures.
  • Understand some of the instruments that measure sea floor changes
  • Explain Axial Seamount, where it is located, how it was formed, what makes it a unique ocean floor feature, life at the site, data tools used to collect information on Axial Seamount, and why it is important for us to understand this underwater volcano.