Learning plan

Is Earth just another rocky planet?

In Is Earth just another rocky planet? you will learn all about what young Earth was like, its structured layers and how plate tectonics are constantly reshaping the Earth’s crust.

To get started, read carefully through the Is Earth just another rocky planet? learning goals below. Make sure you tick each of the check boxes to show that you have read all your Is Earth just another rocky planet? learning goals.

As you read through the learning goals you may come across some words that you haven’t heard before. Please don’t worry. By the time you finish Is Earth just another rocky planet? you will have become very familiar with them!

You will come back to these learning goals at the end of Is Earth just another rocky planet? to see if you have confidently achieved them.

Junior 3.1 Pre



2Al

Activity 3.1.1 Objectives

Learning Goals

  • Begin to understand what young Earth was like
  • Identify Earth’s layers
  • Understand what Geologists study

Introduction

Welcome to Mission Phase 3 - Planet!

In this Mission Phase you will learn all about Earth and how it changed over time to become a unique planet full of an amazing variety of life.

Mission video 14: young Earth and its layers begins by describing what young Earth was like and explains how its structure settled into distinctive layers.


Mission video 14: Young Earth and its layers

While you watch Mission video 14: Young Earth and its layers look out for the answers to the following questions:

  1. 1. What was young Earth like?
  2. 2. What are geologists? What do they do?
  3. 3. What are the 4 main layers of Earth?
  4. 4. Why is the atmosphere important to us?

Your teacher will instruct you whether you will answer the questions: as part of a class discussion; as a group/paired discussion; or independently by writing your answers in your Big History School Junior journal (if you have been provided with one).


Download video


Activity 3.1.1 Review

Conclusion

So where does ‘Earth formed’ appear on our History of the Universe Timeline?

Either your teacher will help you identify where it appears on the classroom display or you will refer back to the Timeline: history of the Universe worksheet you completed when you did the “3 big mission phase questions” activity. You will find a copy of Timeline: history of the Universe example in Helpful Resources.

Helpful Resources

Timeline: history of the Universe example


Go to Activity 3.1.2   »

Course Glossary

accretion

The gradual process of matter being pulled together by gravity to make larger and larger clumps of matter.

adaptation

A special skill or physical feature which helps a species to survive and thrive in its environment. For example, a chameleon changing colour to camouflage itself.

aerial view

A view of something from the sky looking down.

agriculture

Also referred to as farming, agriculture is the practice of growing crops and raising animals. It is an innovation which has allowed human societies to expand and thrive.

AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a type of technology which can perceive things, interpret them and make decisions in a similar way to humans.

amphibian

Animals that evolved from fish to have gills so that they can live in water and also live and breathe on land.

anthropologist

A scientist who studies humans and human behaviour.

asteroids

Rocky bodies which are too small to be called planets.

astronomer

A scientist who studies the Universe and everything in it.

atmosphere

A thin layer of gases, otherwise known as air, that surrounds Earth and other planets.

atoms

Tiny particles which make up everything in the Universe.

authority

Someone who knows a lot about a subject and whose views are respected.

battery storage

A large battery that stores electrical energy which can then be used when other energy sources are not available.

Big Bang theory

Theory about how the Universe began 13.8 billion years ago. All matter, time, space and energy came from the Big Bang.

Big History

The history of the entire Universe beginning 13.8 billion years ago.

biochemist

A scientist who studies the chemistry of living things.

biologist

A scientist who studies living things.

black hole

An area in space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape from it – not even light.

brainstorming

A creative strategy for thinking about and sharing ideas to solve a challenge or task.

CBR

Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) is the radiation left over from the initial energy of the Big Bang. It can be seen through powerful space telescopes.

chemical compounds

Chemical elements which have combined with different chemical elements. For example, hydrogen can combine with oxygen to create the chemical compound water (H2O).

chemical elements

Pure substances which are made from a single type of atom. For example, Helium.

chemist

A scientist who studies the substances that make up all the matter in the Universe.

claim

Information which is presented as fact – not an opinion.

cognitive

To do with mental activity such as thinking, using logic or remembering.

collective learning

The human ability to store and share and build on information from generation to generation.

comets

Balls of frozen gases, rock and dust which orbit the Sun.

community

A group of people who live together. They help each other and work together to solve problems.

compare

To look at what two or more things have in common with each other.

continental drift theory

A theory which states that the Earth’s continents were once joined together in one supercontinent, then broke up and slowly drifted apart.

contrast

To look at how two or more things are different to each other.

convergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates move towards each other.

cosmologist

A scientist who studies the structure and history of the Universe.

creative thinking

Thinking of new ways to solve problems, generate new explanations and/or create something original.

Critical thinking

Thinking which doesn’t rely on simply accepting what someone has said. It involves questioning, using logic and seeking information from experts before drawing a conclusion.

cross section

A view of something as if it has been sliced through with a knife.

digital technology

A term which covers electronic technologies such as computers, tablets and mobile phones.

disciplines

Different areas of knowledge, for example, natural sciences.

divergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates slide apart from each other.

Earth’s core

At its centre, Earth contains a solid inner core and a liquid outer core made of iron and nickel.

Earth’s crust

The layer that floats on top of the mantle and is made of lighter weight rocks and minerals.

electrical technology

Technologies which use electricity as their main power source, for example, light bulbs, electric motors and television.

energy sources

A resource which can be used to provide power. For example, fossil fuels like coal and oil; renewable resources like solar and wind or uranium for nuclear power.

engineer

An expert who designs and builds machines and structures.

evidence

Information which may support or disprove a claim.

evolution

The theory of evolution explains how all the species alive today generated from the first simple life forms on Earth.

exoplanets

Planets which orbit stars outside of our solar system.

expert

A person with a special skill or knowledge in a particular area.

flyby

A path followed by a spacecraft which has been sent close enough to a planet to record scientific data.

fossil fuels

A carbon- based material such as coal, oil, or natural gas that can be used as an energy source. Fossil fuels were originally formed when the remains of living organisms were buried and broken down by intense heat and pressure over millions of years.

gas giants

The four large outermost planets – Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter – which are mostly made of lighter chemical elements like Hydrogen and Helium.

geologist

A scientist who analyses rocks, minerals and landforms.

Goldilocks conditions

The ‘just right’ conditions for life to exist. For example, Earth has the right temperature range, a protective atmosphere and liquid water.

gravity

The energy force which tries to pull two objects toward each other. The bigger an object is, the stronger its gravitational pull.

Homo sapiens

Modern humans who first appeared 300,000 years ago. We are homo sapiens.

hunters and gatherers

Human societies which move from place to place to hunt meat and gather fruit and vegetables to survive.

industrial technology

Machines which operate on a large scale by using energy sources such as water, steam power, oil and coal.

innovation

Using existing knowledge to come up with new technologies or new ways of doing things.

intelligent life

Beings from other planets who are able to think, learn and understand. Scientists continue to search for intelligent life out in the Universe.

intuition

A ‘gut feeling’ that a claim may be true or false.

Jovian planets

The term Jovian planets refers to the large gassy planets furthest from the Sun - Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. They are also known as gas giants.

Karman line

An imaginary line 100 kms above the Earth’s crust where it has been internationally agreed the Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins.

KWHLAQ chart

A visible framework which uses a series of step-by-step questions to provide guidance through the creative thinking process.

lander

A spacecraft which has been designed to make a soft landing on a planet or moon etc.

logic

Carefully thinking about a claim to decide whether it makes sense.

mantle

The layer that surrounds the Earth’s core and is made of minerals and rocks which slowly flow in a sludge of melted iron.

matter

Everything around us that has weight and takes up space. All matter is made up of atoms.

meteoroids

Otherwise known as shooting stars, meteoroids are small space rocks which burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

module

A self-contained unit which can be joined together with other units to build something more complex.

multi-planetary species

A species which lives on more than one planet. Humans could become the first known multi-planetary species by establishing a human habitat on Mars.

multicellular organisms

A complex organism which is made up of more than one cell. For example, animals and plants.

natural selection

The process by which individuals in a species who have more successful adaptations have more children, therefore passing their successful adaptations on to future generations.

nuclear fusion

The process of hydrogen atoms being crushed together in a star’s hot centre, releasing heat and energy for billions of years.

orbiter

A spacecraft designed to orbit a planet and collect scientific data over a long period of time.

overpopulation

When a population grows too big for the available resources, for example, food. Humans have, in the past, solved potential problems through innovations such as agriculture.

ozone layer

An invisible layer in Earth’s upper atmosphere which helps to protect us from the Sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays.

periodic table

A diagram of all the chemical elements in the Universe. It was created by a Russian chemist named Dmitri Mendeleev.

quasars

Quasi Stellar Objects (Quasars) are believed to be the brightest and most distant objects in the Universe.

radiation

The transfer of energy (heat, sound or light) through waves. It can come from cosmic rays or from the Earth. Too much exposure to radiation is harmful to humans.

redshift

When a star or galaxy moves away, its light waves are stretched out and it has a red glow. This is called redshift and provides evidence that the Universe is expanding.

robotics

A type of technology which allows machines to be programmed to move and complete set tasks.

rocky planets

The four small inner planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – which are mostly made of heavier chemical elements like iron.

rover

A moving robot which is sent to the surface of another planet to explore, collect scientific data and samples.

self-sustaining

Being able to exist for a long time without outside help by using resources responsibly.

single-celled organisms

A simple organism which is made up of only one cell. For example, simple bacteria.

singularity

The extremely small point which contained the ingredients for everything in the Universe. Everything was crushed together in this singularity at the moment of the Big Bang.

sol

The name of a solar day on Mars, which is 24.65 hours.

star

A massive sphere of very hot gas which makes its own light and energy through nuclear fusion.

supernova

The spectacular explosion which occurs when a massive star dies. It blows chemical elements out into the Universe.

survive

To be able to continue to live. For example, having enough food to avoid dying of starvation.

technology

New tools or methods, developed through the use of scientific knowledge, which can be used to solve problems.

tectonic plates

The large solid-rock moving pieces which make up the Earth’s crust.

thrive

To be able to grow, be successful and become stronger. For example, humans thrive when they are part of a connected community.

timeline

A graphic which includes a list of events placed in the order that they happened.

transform boundary

Where two tectonic plates meet and try to move past each other.

uranium

A chemical element which is found in the Earth’s crust and is used as an energy source in nuclear power plants.

venn diagram

A visual graphic which can be used to compare and contrast two different things.

white dwarf

When a non-massive star runs out of fuel for nuclear fusion it collapses into itself. The leftover core is a compact star called a white dwarf.

x-ray telescope

A type of telescope which works by receiving x-ray signals. It is mainly used to observe space objects and events such as the Sun, stars and supernovae.

Yucatan Peninsula

Location of the Chicxulub Crater where a giant meteor landed 66 million years ago. Scientists think this meteor strike led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

zinc

One of the most common chemical elements in the Earth’s crust.

2Al

Activity 3.1.2 Objectives

Learning Goals

  • Begin to understand what young Earth was like
  • Identify Earth’s layers
  • Understand what geologists study

Introduction

Now that you have learned about the different layers in the Earth’s structure, you will create a colourful poster to demonstrate what you have learned.


Poster: the Earth's layers

Follow the instructions on the Poster: the Earth’s layers worksheet step-by-step to create your poster:

  1. Step 1. Colour the ‘Inner Core’ yellow; the ‘Outer Core’ orange; the ‘Mantle’ red and the ‘Crust’ brown.
  2. Step 2. Cut out the Earth and paste it onto blue or white paper/cardboard.
  3. Step 3. Paste the correct labels on each layer.
  4. Step 4. Draw around the ‘Crust’ all the things we see on the land around us, for example, mountains, forests, skyscrapers, oceans etc.
  5. Step 5. Draw in the ‘Atmosphere’ all the things you see in the sky, for example, clouds, birds, planes and anything else that you know forms part of the atmosphere.
  6. Step 6. Write the heading ‘The Earth’s Layers’ on the top of your poster.

3.1.2 - Poster - The Earths Layers


Activity 3.1.2 Review

Conclusion

If you are part of a class, your teacher will ask you and your classmates to share your completed Earth’s layers posters.

Notice what a small portion of the Earth is made up of the crust - this is the part of the Earth where we live our entire lives!

And what did you include in your atmosphere? Did you include things that you can’t see as well as those that you can? For example, oxygen, pollution and the ozone layer? Can you think of anything else?


Go to Activity 3.1.3   »

Course Glossary

accretion

The gradual process of matter being pulled together by gravity to make larger and larger clumps of matter.

adaptation

A special skill or physical feature which helps a species to survive and thrive in its environment. For example, a chameleon changing colour to camouflage itself.

aerial view

A view of something from the sky looking down.

agriculture

Also referred to as farming, agriculture is the practice of growing crops and raising animals. It is an innovation which has allowed human societies to expand and thrive.

AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a type of technology which can perceive things, interpret them and make decisions in a similar way to humans.

amphibian

Animals that evolved from fish to have gills so that they can live in water and also live and breathe on land.

anthropologist

A scientist who studies humans and human behaviour.

asteroids

Rocky bodies which are too small to be called planets.

astronomer

A scientist who studies the Universe and everything in it.

atmosphere

A thin layer of gases, otherwise known as air, that surrounds Earth and other planets.

atoms

Tiny particles which make up everything in the Universe.

authority

Someone who knows a lot about a subject and whose views are respected.

battery storage

A large battery that stores electrical energy which can then be used when other energy sources are not available.

Big Bang theory

Theory about how the Universe began 13.8 billion years ago. All matter, time, space and energy came from the Big Bang.

Big History

The history of the entire Universe beginning 13.8 billion years ago.

biochemist

A scientist who studies the chemistry of living things.

biologist

A scientist who studies living things.

black hole

An area in space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape from it – not even light.

brainstorming

A creative strategy for thinking about and sharing ideas to solve a challenge or task.

CBR

Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) is the radiation left over from the initial energy of the Big Bang. It can be seen through powerful space telescopes.

chemical compounds

Chemical elements which have combined with different chemical elements. For example, hydrogen can combine with oxygen to create the chemical compound water (H2O).

chemical elements

Pure substances which are made from a single type of atom. For example, Helium.

chemist

A scientist who studies the substances that make up all the matter in the Universe.

claim

Information which is presented as fact – not an opinion.

cognitive

To do with mental activity such as thinking, using logic or remembering.

collective learning

The human ability to store and share and build on information from generation to generation.

comets

Balls of frozen gases, rock and dust which orbit the Sun.

community

A group of people who live together. They help each other and work together to solve problems.

compare

To look at what two or more things have in common with each other.

continental drift theory

A theory which states that the Earth’s continents were once joined together in one supercontinent, then broke up and slowly drifted apart.

contrast

To look at how two or more things are different to each other.

convergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates move towards each other.

cosmologist

A scientist who studies the structure and history of the Universe.

creative thinking

Thinking of new ways to solve problems, generate new explanations and/or create something original.

Critical thinking

Thinking which doesn’t rely on simply accepting what someone has said. It involves questioning, using logic and seeking information from experts before drawing a conclusion.

cross section

A view of something as if it has been sliced through with a knife.

digital technology

A term which covers electronic technologies such as computers, tablets and mobile phones.

disciplines

Different areas of knowledge, for example, natural sciences.

divergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates slide apart from each other.

Earth’s core

At its centre, Earth contains a solid inner core and a liquid outer core made of iron and nickel.

Earth’s crust

The layer that floats on top of the mantle and is made of lighter weight rocks and minerals.

electrical technology

Technologies which use electricity as their main power source, for example, light bulbs, electric motors and television.

energy sources

A resource which can be used to provide power. For example, fossil fuels like coal and oil; renewable resources like solar and wind or uranium for nuclear power.

engineer

An expert who designs and builds machines and structures.

evidence

Information which may support or disprove a claim.

evolution

The theory of evolution explains how all the species alive today generated from the first simple life forms on Earth.

exoplanets

Planets which orbit stars outside of our solar system.

expert

A person with a special skill or knowledge in a particular area.

flyby

A path followed by a spacecraft which has been sent close enough to a planet to record scientific data.

fossil fuels

A carbon- based material such as coal, oil, or natural gas that can be used as an energy source. Fossil fuels were originally formed when the remains of living organisms were buried and broken down by intense heat and pressure over millions of years.

gas giants

The four large outermost planets – Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter – which are mostly made of lighter chemical elements like Hydrogen and Helium.

geologist

A scientist who analyses rocks, minerals and landforms.

Goldilocks conditions

The ‘just right’ conditions for life to exist. For example, Earth has the right temperature range, a protective atmosphere and liquid water.

gravity

The energy force which tries to pull two objects toward each other. The bigger an object is, the stronger its gravitational pull.

Homo sapiens

Modern humans who first appeared 300,000 years ago. We are homo sapiens.

hunters and gatherers

Human societies which move from place to place to hunt meat and gather fruit and vegetables to survive.

industrial technology

Machines which operate on a large scale by using energy sources such as water, steam power, oil and coal.

innovation

Using existing knowledge to come up with new technologies or new ways of doing things.

intelligent life

Beings from other planets who are able to think, learn and understand. Scientists continue to search for intelligent life out in the Universe.

intuition

A ‘gut feeling’ that a claim may be true or false.

Jovian planets

The term Jovian planets refers to the large gassy planets furthest from the Sun - Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. They are also known as gas giants.

Karman line

An imaginary line 100 kms above the Earth’s crust where it has been internationally agreed the Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins.

KWHLAQ chart

A visible framework which uses a series of step-by-step questions to provide guidance through the creative thinking process.

lander

A spacecraft which has been designed to make a soft landing on a planet or moon etc.

logic

Carefully thinking about a claim to decide whether it makes sense.

mantle

The layer that surrounds the Earth’s core and is made of minerals and rocks which slowly flow in a sludge of melted iron.

matter

Everything around us that has weight and takes up space. All matter is made up of atoms.

meteoroids

Otherwise known as shooting stars, meteoroids are small space rocks which burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

module

A self-contained unit which can be joined together with other units to build something more complex.

multi-planetary species

A species which lives on more than one planet. Humans could become the first known multi-planetary species by establishing a human habitat on Mars.

multicellular organisms

A complex organism which is made up of more than one cell. For example, animals and plants.

natural selection

The process by which individuals in a species who have more successful adaptations have more children, therefore passing their successful adaptations on to future generations.

nuclear fusion

The process of hydrogen atoms being crushed together in a star’s hot centre, releasing heat and energy for billions of years.

orbiter

A spacecraft designed to orbit a planet and collect scientific data over a long period of time.

overpopulation

When a population grows too big for the available resources, for example, food. Humans have, in the past, solved potential problems through innovations such as agriculture.

ozone layer

An invisible layer in Earth’s upper atmosphere which helps to protect us from the Sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays.

periodic table

A diagram of all the chemical elements in the Universe. It was created by a Russian chemist named Dmitri Mendeleev.

quasars

Quasi Stellar Objects (Quasars) are believed to be the brightest and most distant objects in the Universe.

radiation

The transfer of energy (heat, sound or light) through waves. It can come from cosmic rays or from the Earth. Too much exposure to radiation is harmful to humans.

redshift

When a star or galaxy moves away, its light waves are stretched out and it has a red glow. This is called redshift and provides evidence that the Universe is expanding.

robotics

A type of technology which allows machines to be programmed to move and complete set tasks.

rocky planets

The four small inner planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – which are mostly made of heavier chemical elements like iron.

rover

A moving robot which is sent to the surface of another planet to explore, collect scientific data and samples.

self-sustaining

Being able to exist for a long time without outside help by using resources responsibly.

single-celled organisms

A simple organism which is made up of only one cell. For example, simple bacteria.

singularity

The extremely small point which contained the ingredients for everything in the Universe. Everything was crushed together in this singularity at the moment of the Big Bang.

sol

The name of a solar day on Mars, which is 24.65 hours.

star

A massive sphere of very hot gas which makes its own light and energy through nuclear fusion.

supernova

The spectacular explosion which occurs when a massive star dies. It blows chemical elements out into the Universe.

survive

To be able to continue to live. For example, having enough food to avoid dying of starvation.

technology

New tools or methods, developed through the use of scientific knowledge, which can be used to solve problems.

tectonic plates

The large solid-rock moving pieces which make up the Earth’s crust.

thrive

To be able to grow, be successful and become stronger. For example, humans thrive when they are part of a connected community.

timeline

A graphic which includes a list of events placed in the order that they happened.

transform boundary

Where two tectonic plates meet and try to move past each other.

uranium

A chemical element which is found in the Earth’s crust and is used as an energy source in nuclear power plants.

venn diagram

A visual graphic which can be used to compare and contrast two different things.

white dwarf

When a non-massive star runs out of fuel for nuclear fusion it collapses into itself. The leftover core is a compact star called a white dwarf.

x-ray telescope

A type of telescope which works by receiving x-ray signals. It is mainly used to observe space objects and events such as the Sun, stars and supernovae.

Yucatan Peninsula

Location of the Chicxulub Crater where a giant meteor landed 66 million years ago. Scientists think this meteor strike led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

zinc

One of the most common chemical elements in the Earth’s crust.

2Al

Activity 3.1.3 Objectives

Learning Goals

  • Understand continental drift theory
  • Identify the three types of tectonic plate boundaries
  • Explain the consequences of tectonic plate movement

Introduction

When you learned about Earth’s structure in the last couple of activities, you may have been left with the impression that Earth is an unmoving, unchanging planet. Nothing could be further from the truth - especially on the Earth’s crust!

Mission video 15: Earth's changing surface introduces you to continental drift theory, which explains how the Earth’s crust is constantly changing and what the consequences are for our planet and for humans.


Mission video 15: Earth's changing surface

While you watch Mission video 15: Earth's changing surface look out for the answers to the following questions:

  1. 1. What is continental drift theory?
  2. 2. What was the evidence for this theory?
  3. 3. What do we now know causes continental drift?
  4. 4. What are the three types of tectonic plate boundaries? What effect do they have?
  5. 5. What are two things that make Earth unique?

Your teacher will instruct you whether you will answer the questions: as part of a class discussion; as a group/paired discussion; or independently by writing your answers in your Big History School Junior journal (if you have been provided with one).


Download video


Activity 3.1.3 Review

Conclusion

To help you visualise the relationship between tectonic plate boundaries and the number of incidences of earthquakes and locations of volcanoes, launch the PBS interactive in Helpful Resources. Take note of some of the continents/countries which appear to have the most earthquakes and volcanoes are they near tectonic plate boundaries? What impact do earthquakes and volcanic eruptions have on our planet, on plant and animal habitats and on human life?

Helpful Resources

https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ess05.sci.ess.earthsys.tectonic/tectonic-plates-earthquakes-and-volcanoes/#.W4SuxugzaUm


Go to Activity 3.1.4   »

Course Glossary

accretion

The gradual process of matter being pulled together by gravity to make larger and larger clumps of matter.

adaptation

A special skill or physical feature which helps a species to survive and thrive in its environment. For example, a chameleon changing colour to camouflage itself.

aerial view

A view of something from the sky looking down.

agriculture

Also referred to as farming, agriculture is the practice of growing crops and raising animals. It is an innovation which has allowed human societies to expand and thrive.

AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a type of technology which can perceive things, interpret them and make decisions in a similar way to humans.

amphibian

Animals that evolved from fish to have gills so that they can live in water and also live and breathe on land.

anthropologist

A scientist who studies humans and human behaviour.

asteroids

Rocky bodies which are too small to be called planets.

astronomer

A scientist who studies the Universe and everything in it.

atmosphere

A thin layer of gases, otherwise known as air, that surrounds Earth and other planets.

atoms

Tiny particles which make up everything in the Universe.

authority

Someone who knows a lot about a subject and whose views are respected.

battery storage

A large battery that stores electrical energy which can then be used when other energy sources are not available.

Big Bang theory

Theory about how the Universe began 13.8 billion years ago. All matter, time, space and energy came from the Big Bang.

Big History

The history of the entire Universe beginning 13.8 billion years ago.

biochemist

A scientist who studies the chemistry of living things.

biologist

A scientist who studies living things.

black hole

An area in space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape from it – not even light.

brainstorming

A creative strategy for thinking about and sharing ideas to solve a challenge or task.

CBR

Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) is the radiation left over from the initial energy of the Big Bang. It can be seen through powerful space telescopes.

chemical compounds

Chemical elements which have combined with different chemical elements. For example, hydrogen can combine with oxygen to create the chemical compound water (H2O).

chemical elements

Pure substances which are made from a single type of atom. For example, Helium.

chemist

A scientist who studies the substances that make up all the matter in the Universe.

claim

Information which is presented as fact – not an opinion.

cognitive

To do with mental activity such as thinking, using logic or remembering.

collective learning

The human ability to store and share and build on information from generation to generation.

comets

Balls of frozen gases, rock and dust which orbit the Sun.

community

A group of people who live together. They help each other and work together to solve problems.

compare

To look at what two or more things have in common with each other.

continental drift theory

A theory which states that the Earth’s continents were once joined together in one supercontinent, then broke up and slowly drifted apart.

contrast

To look at how two or more things are different to each other.

convergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates move towards each other.

cosmologist

A scientist who studies the structure and history of the Universe.

creative thinking

Thinking of new ways to solve problems, generate new explanations and/or create something original.

Critical thinking

Thinking which doesn’t rely on simply accepting what someone has said. It involves questioning, using logic and seeking information from experts before drawing a conclusion.

cross section

A view of something as if it has been sliced through with a knife.

digital technology

A term which covers electronic technologies such as computers, tablets and mobile phones.

disciplines

Different areas of knowledge, for example, natural sciences.

divergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates slide apart from each other.

Earth’s core

At its centre, Earth contains a solid inner core and a liquid outer core made of iron and nickel.

Earth’s crust

The layer that floats on top of the mantle and is made of lighter weight rocks and minerals.

electrical technology

Technologies which use electricity as their main power source, for example, light bulbs, electric motors and television.

energy sources

A resource which can be used to provide power. For example, fossil fuels like coal and oil; renewable resources like solar and wind or uranium for nuclear power.

engineer

An expert who designs and builds machines and structures.

evidence

Information which may support or disprove a claim.

evolution

The theory of evolution explains how all the species alive today generated from the first simple life forms on Earth.

exoplanets

Planets which orbit stars outside of our solar system.

expert

A person with a special skill or knowledge in a particular area.

flyby

A path followed by a spacecraft which has been sent close enough to a planet to record scientific data.

fossil fuels

A carbon- based material such as coal, oil, or natural gas that can be used as an energy source. Fossil fuels were originally formed when the remains of living organisms were buried and broken down by intense heat and pressure over millions of years.

gas giants

The four large outermost planets – Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter – which are mostly made of lighter chemical elements like Hydrogen and Helium.

geologist

A scientist who analyses rocks, minerals and landforms.

Goldilocks conditions

The ‘just right’ conditions for life to exist. For example, Earth has the right temperature range, a protective atmosphere and liquid water.

gravity

The energy force which tries to pull two objects toward each other. The bigger an object is, the stronger its gravitational pull.

Homo sapiens

Modern humans who first appeared 300,000 years ago. We are homo sapiens.

hunters and gatherers

Human societies which move from place to place to hunt meat and gather fruit and vegetables to survive.

industrial technology

Machines which operate on a large scale by using energy sources such as water, steam power, oil and coal.

innovation

Using existing knowledge to come up with new technologies or new ways of doing things.

intelligent life

Beings from other planets who are able to think, learn and understand. Scientists continue to search for intelligent life out in the Universe.

intuition

A ‘gut feeling’ that a claim may be true or false.

Jovian planets

The term Jovian planets refers to the large gassy planets furthest from the Sun - Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. They are also known as gas giants.

Karman line

An imaginary line 100 kms above the Earth’s crust where it has been internationally agreed the Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins.

KWHLAQ chart

A visible framework which uses a series of step-by-step questions to provide guidance through the creative thinking process.

lander

A spacecraft which has been designed to make a soft landing on a planet or moon etc.

logic

Carefully thinking about a claim to decide whether it makes sense.

mantle

The layer that surrounds the Earth’s core and is made of minerals and rocks which slowly flow in a sludge of melted iron.

matter

Everything around us that has weight and takes up space. All matter is made up of atoms.

meteoroids

Otherwise known as shooting stars, meteoroids are small space rocks which burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

module

A self-contained unit which can be joined together with other units to build something more complex.

multi-planetary species

A species which lives on more than one planet. Humans could become the first known multi-planetary species by establishing a human habitat on Mars.

multicellular organisms

A complex organism which is made up of more than one cell. For example, animals and plants.

natural selection

The process by which individuals in a species who have more successful adaptations have more children, therefore passing their successful adaptations on to future generations.

nuclear fusion

The process of hydrogen atoms being crushed together in a star’s hot centre, releasing heat and energy for billions of years.

orbiter

A spacecraft designed to orbit a planet and collect scientific data over a long period of time.

overpopulation

When a population grows too big for the available resources, for example, food. Humans have, in the past, solved potential problems through innovations such as agriculture.

ozone layer

An invisible layer in Earth’s upper atmosphere which helps to protect us from the Sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays.

periodic table

A diagram of all the chemical elements in the Universe. It was created by a Russian chemist named Dmitri Mendeleev.

quasars

Quasi Stellar Objects (Quasars) are believed to be the brightest and most distant objects in the Universe.

radiation

The transfer of energy (heat, sound or light) through waves. It can come from cosmic rays or from the Earth. Too much exposure to radiation is harmful to humans.

redshift

When a star or galaxy moves away, its light waves are stretched out and it has a red glow. This is called redshift and provides evidence that the Universe is expanding.

robotics

A type of technology which allows machines to be programmed to move and complete set tasks.

rocky planets

The four small inner planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – which are mostly made of heavier chemical elements like iron.

rover

A moving robot which is sent to the surface of another planet to explore, collect scientific data and samples.

self-sustaining

Being able to exist for a long time without outside help by using resources responsibly.

single-celled organisms

A simple organism which is made up of only one cell. For example, simple bacteria.

singularity

The extremely small point which contained the ingredients for everything in the Universe. Everything was crushed together in this singularity at the moment of the Big Bang.

sol

The name of a solar day on Mars, which is 24.65 hours.

star

A massive sphere of very hot gas which makes its own light and energy through nuclear fusion.

supernova

The spectacular explosion which occurs when a massive star dies. It blows chemical elements out into the Universe.

survive

To be able to continue to live. For example, having enough food to avoid dying of starvation.

technology

New tools or methods, developed through the use of scientific knowledge, which can be used to solve problems.

tectonic plates

The large solid-rock moving pieces which make up the Earth’s crust.

thrive

To be able to grow, be successful and become stronger. For example, humans thrive when they are part of a connected community.

timeline

A graphic which includes a list of events placed in the order that they happened.

transform boundary

Where two tectonic plates meet and try to move past each other.

uranium

A chemical element which is found in the Earth’s crust and is used as an energy source in nuclear power plants.

venn diagram

A visual graphic which can be used to compare and contrast two different things.

white dwarf

When a non-massive star runs out of fuel for nuclear fusion it collapses into itself. The leftover core is a compact star called a white dwarf.

x-ray telescope

A type of telescope which works by receiving x-ray signals. It is mainly used to observe space objects and events such as the Sun, stars and supernovae.

Yucatan Peninsula

Location of the Chicxulub Crater where a giant meteor landed 66 million years ago. Scientists think this meteor strike led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

zinc

One of the most common chemical elements in the Earth’s crust.

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Activity 3.1.4 Objectives

Learning Goals

  • Understand continental drift theory
  • Identify the three types of tectonic plate boundaries
  • Explain the consequences of tectonic plate movement

Introduction

Now that you have learned about the theory of plate tectonics and you have seen some examples of how the movement of tectonic plates changes the Earth’s crust, you will undertake a hands-on demonstration of the three different types of tectonic plates boundaries.


Demo: tectonic plate boundaries instruction sheet

In this demonstration you will use an Oreo or similar sandwich-style biscuit to demonstrate the differences between the three types of tectonic boundaries.

Follow the steps on the Demo: tectonic plate boundaries instruction sheet:

  1. Step 1. Always keep your biscuit above your paper plate so that any crumbs land on the plate.
  2. Step 2. Hold the bottom of your biscuit while gently twisting the top of the biscuit so that it separates from the soft centre and the rest of the biscuit.
  3. Step 3. Hold the top part of the biscuit and, using both your thumb nails, place gentle pressure on the middle of the biscuit so that it breaks in half. These two halves represent two tectonic plates.
  4. Step 4. Place the two tectonic plates back together onto the soft centre of the bottom half of the biscuit. The soft centre represents the sludgy mantle.
  5. Step 5. To simulate a divergent boundary place a thumb on each of the two tectonic plates and gently slide them apart. Imagine that this is what is currently happening in the Kenyan Rift Valley.
  6. Step 6. Slide the tectonic plates back together again.
  7. Step 7. To simulate a transform boundary, place pressure on both of the tectonic plates with your thumbs and slide one up while you try to slide the other one down. Imagine how this could create an earthquake as the huge plates grind past each other.
  8. Step 8. Slide the tectonic plates back together again.
  9. Step 9. To simulate a convergent boundary place pressure on both of the tectonic plates with your thumbs and push them towards each other, allowing one to slide beneath the other. Imagine how this could cause mountains to rise from the ocean and create islands.

3.1.4 - Demo - Tectonic Plate Boundaries


Activity 3.1.4 Review

Conclusion

For a final summary of the three different types of tectonic plate boundaries, launch the PBS interactive, ‘Mountain Maker Earth Shaker.’ You will find a link in Helpful Resources. Drag the arrows to see what happens with each different tectonic plate movement and to read what the consequences are.

Helpful Resources

https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ess05.sci.ess.earthsys.shake/mountain-maker-earth-shaker/?#.WtgNpohuaUk


Go to Learning summary   »

Course Glossary

accretion

The gradual process of matter being pulled together by gravity to make larger and larger clumps of matter.

adaptation

A special skill or physical feature which helps a species to survive and thrive in its environment. For example, a chameleon changing colour to camouflage itself.

aerial view

A view of something from the sky looking down.

agriculture

Also referred to as farming, agriculture is the practice of growing crops and raising animals. It is an innovation which has allowed human societies to expand and thrive.

AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a type of technology which can perceive things, interpret them and make decisions in a similar way to humans.

amphibian

Animals that evolved from fish to have gills so that they can live in water and also live and breathe on land.

anthropologist

A scientist who studies humans and human behaviour.

asteroids

Rocky bodies which are too small to be called planets.

astronomer

A scientist who studies the Universe and everything in it.

atmosphere

A thin layer of gases, otherwise known as air, that surrounds Earth and other planets.

atoms

Tiny particles which make up everything in the Universe.

authority

Someone who knows a lot about a subject and whose views are respected.

battery storage

A large battery that stores electrical energy which can then be used when other energy sources are not available.

Big Bang theory

Theory about how the Universe began 13.8 billion years ago. All matter, time, space and energy came from the Big Bang.

Big History

The history of the entire Universe beginning 13.8 billion years ago.

biochemist

A scientist who studies the chemistry of living things.

biologist

A scientist who studies living things.

black hole

An area in space where gravity is so strong that nothing can escape from it – not even light.

brainstorming

A creative strategy for thinking about and sharing ideas to solve a challenge or task.

CBR

Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) is the radiation left over from the initial energy of the Big Bang. It can be seen through powerful space telescopes.

chemical compounds

Chemical elements which have combined with different chemical elements. For example, hydrogen can combine with oxygen to create the chemical compound water (H2O).

chemical elements

Pure substances which are made from a single type of atom. For example, Helium.

chemist

A scientist who studies the substances that make up all the matter in the Universe.

claim

Information which is presented as fact – not an opinion.

cognitive

To do with mental activity such as thinking, using logic or remembering.

collective learning

The human ability to store and share and build on information from generation to generation.

comets

Balls of frozen gases, rock and dust which orbit the Sun.

community

A group of people who live together. They help each other and work together to solve problems.

compare

To look at what two or more things have in common with each other.

continental drift theory

A theory which states that the Earth’s continents were once joined together in one supercontinent, then broke up and slowly drifted apart.

contrast

To look at how two or more things are different to each other.

convergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates move towards each other.

cosmologist

A scientist who studies the structure and history of the Universe.

creative thinking

Thinking of new ways to solve problems, generate new explanations and/or create something original.

Critical thinking

Thinking which doesn’t rely on simply accepting what someone has said. It involves questioning, using logic and seeking information from experts before drawing a conclusion.

cross section

A view of something as if it has been sliced through with a knife.

digital technology

A term which covers electronic technologies such as computers, tablets and mobile phones.

disciplines

Different areas of knowledge, for example, natural sciences.

divergent boundary

Where two tectonic plates slide apart from each other.

Earth’s core

At its centre, Earth contains a solid inner core and a liquid outer core made of iron and nickel.

Earth’s crust

The layer that floats on top of the mantle and is made of lighter weight rocks and minerals.

electrical technology

Technologies which use electricity as their main power source, for example, light bulbs, electric motors and television.

energy sources

A resource which can be used to provide power. For example, fossil fuels like coal and oil; renewable resources like solar and wind or uranium for nuclear power.

engineer

An expert who designs and builds machines and structures.

evidence

Information which may support or disprove a claim.

evolution

The theory of evolution explains how all the species alive today generated from the first simple life forms on Earth.

exoplanets

Planets which orbit stars outside of our solar system.

expert

A person with a special skill or knowledge in a particular area.

flyby

A path followed by a spacecraft which has been sent close enough to a planet to record scientific data.

fossil fuels

A carbon- based material such as coal, oil, or natural gas that can be used as an energy source. Fossil fuels were originally formed when the remains of living organisms were buried and broken down by intense heat and pressure over millions of years.

gas giants

The four large outermost planets – Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter – which are mostly made of lighter chemical elements like Hydrogen and Helium.

geologist

A scientist who analyses rocks, minerals and landforms.

Goldilocks conditions

The ‘just right’ conditions for life to exist. For example, Earth has the right temperature range, a protective atmosphere and liquid water.

gravity

The energy force which tries to pull two objects toward each other. The bigger an object is, the stronger its gravitational pull.

Homo sapiens

Modern humans who first appeared 300,000 years ago. We are homo sapiens.

hunters and gatherers

Human societies which move from place to place to hunt meat and gather fruit and vegetables to survive.

industrial technology

Machines which operate on a large scale by using energy sources such as water, steam power, oil and coal.

innovation

Using existing knowledge to come up with new technologies or new ways of doing things.

intelligent life

Beings from other planets who are able to think, learn and understand. Scientists continue to search for intelligent life out in the Universe.

intuition

A ‘gut feeling’ that a claim may be true or false.

Jovian planets

The term Jovian planets refers to the large gassy planets furthest from the Sun - Neptune, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. They are also known as gas giants.

Karman line

An imaginary line 100 kms above the Earth’s crust where it has been internationally agreed the Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins.

KWHLAQ chart

A visible framework which uses a series of step-by-step questions to provide guidance through the creative thinking process.

lander

A spacecraft which has been designed to make a soft landing on a planet or moon etc.

logic

Carefully thinking about a claim to decide whether it makes sense.

mantle

The layer that surrounds the Earth’s core and is made of minerals and rocks which slowly flow in a sludge of melted iron.

matter

Everything around us that has weight and takes up space. All matter is made up of atoms.

meteoroids

Otherwise known as shooting stars, meteoroids are small space rocks which burn up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere.

module

A self-contained unit which can be joined together with other units to build something more complex.

multi-planetary species

A species which lives on more than one planet. Humans could become the first known multi-planetary species by establishing a human habitat on Mars.

multicellular organisms

A complex organism which is made up of more than one cell. For example, animals and plants.

natural selection

The process by which individuals in a species who have more successful adaptations have more children, therefore passing their successful adaptations on to future generations.

nuclear fusion

The process of hydrogen atoms being crushed together in a star’s hot centre, releasing heat and energy for billions of years.

orbiter

A spacecraft designed to orbit a planet and collect scientific data over a long period of time.

overpopulation

When a population grows too big for the available resources, for example, food. Humans have, in the past, solved potential problems through innovations such as agriculture.

ozone layer

An invisible layer in Earth’s upper atmosphere which helps to protect us from the Sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays.

periodic table

A diagram of all the chemical elements in the Universe. It was created by a Russian chemist named Dmitri Mendeleev.

quasars

Quasi Stellar Objects (Quasars) are believed to be the brightest and most distant objects in the Universe.

radiation

The transfer of energy (heat, sound or light) through waves. It can come from cosmic rays or from the Earth. Too much exposure to radiation is harmful to humans.

redshift

When a star or galaxy moves away, its light waves are stretched out and it has a red glow. This is called redshift and provides evidence that the Universe is expanding.

robotics

A type of technology which allows machines to be programmed to move and complete set tasks.

rocky planets

The four small inner planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – which are mostly made of heavier chemical elements like iron.

rover

A moving robot which is sent to the surface of another planet to explore, collect scientific data and samples.

self-sustaining

Being able to exist for a long time without outside help by using resources responsibly.

single-celled organisms

A simple organism which is made up of only one cell. For example, simple bacteria.

singularity

The extremely small point which contained the ingredients for everything in the Universe. Everything was crushed together in this singularity at the moment of the Big Bang.

sol

The name of a solar day on Mars, which is 24.65 hours.

star

A massive sphere of very hot gas which makes its own light and energy through nuclear fusion.

supernova

The spectacular explosion which occurs when a massive star dies. It blows chemical elements out into the Universe.

survive

To be able to continue to live. For example, having enough food to avoid dying of starvation.

technology

New tools or methods, developed through the use of scientific knowledge, which can be used to solve problems.

tectonic plates

The large solid-rock moving pieces which make up the Earth’s crust.

thrive

To be able to grow, be successful and become stronger. For example, humans thrive when they are part of a connected community.

timeline

A graphic which includes a list of events placed in the order that they happened.

transform boundary

Where two tectonic plates meet and try to move past each other.

uranium

A chemical element which is found in the Earth’s crust and is used as an energy source in nuclear power plants.

venn diagram

A visual graphic which can be used to compare and contrast two different things.

white dwarf

When a non-massive star runs out of fuel for nuclear fusion it collapses into itself. The leftover core is a compact star called a white dwarf.

x-ray telescope

A type of telescope which works by receiving x-ray signals. It is mainly used to observe space objects and events such as the Sun, stars and supernovae.

Yucatan Peninsula

Location of the Chicxulub Crater where a giant meteor landed 66 million years ago. Scientists think this meteor strike led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

zinc

One of the most common chemical elements in the Earth’s crust.

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Learning summary

Is Earth just another rocky planet?

In Is Earth just another rocky planet you learned all about what young Earth was like, its structured layers and how plate tectonics are constantly reshaping the Earth’s crust.

Now it’s time to revisit your Is Earth just another rocky planet? learning goals and read through them again carefully.

As you read each learning goal, tick the check box beside it if you are confident you have achieved that learning goal.

You’ll find that some learning goals are harder to achieve than others. If you find that there are learning goals that you’re not confident you’ve achieved yet, you may like to re-watch the Mission video which relates to that learning goal and/or ask your teacher for help.

Junior 3.1 Post



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