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Tectonics investigator

TLF ID L5826

Investigate the internal structure of the Earth using earthquake measurements. Examine the Earth’s outer layer. Fit the Earth's tectonic plates together like a jigsaw puzzle. Identify how plate movements produce many features of the Earth’s surface. Predict the formation of new volcanic islands. This learning object is a combination of three objects in the same series.

Educational details

Key learning objectives
  • Students investigate the Earth's internal structure.
  • Students analyse scientific data to interpret a model of the Earth's structure.
  • Students identify tectonic plates.
  • Students investigate the formation of magnetic stripes at divergent plate boundaries and interpret their role in support of tectonic plate theory.
  • Students observe how hot spots can create seamounts and island chains and deduce how this process supports tectonic plate theory.
  • Students apply tectonic plate theory to predict island formation.
Educational value
  • Illustrates and explains the Earth's internal structure through animations and scientific data.
  • Presents the Earth’s internal structure, tectonic plates, magnetic stripes at divergent boundaries and hot spot traces as evidence for plate movement.
  • Includes a jigsaw activity in which the tectonic plates are fitted together over the Earth’s surface.
  • Allows students to control plate movement to demonstrate the formation of magnetic stripes and hot spots.
  • Tests student understanding and interpretation through multiple-choice questions.
  • Provides structured feedback to student input.
Year level

8; 9; 10

Learning area
  • science
  • Science/Earth and space sciences
  • Science/Science as a human endeavour
  • Science/Science understanding
  • Science/Earth and space sciences
  • Science/Science as a human endeavour
  • Science/Science understanding
  • Science/Earth and space sciences
  • Science/Science as a human endeavour
  • Science/Science understanding
    • Science/Geology
    • Science/Earth movements
    • Science/Heat
    • Science/Fossil records
    • Science/Evidence
    • Science/Geological cycles
    • Science/Geological samples
    • Science/Observable properties
    • Science/Magnetism
    • Science/Plate tectonics
    • Science/Rocks
    • Science/Science
    • Knowledge;
    • Comprehension;
    • Application;
    • Analysis
    Student activity
    • Interactives;
    • Experiment;
    • Analysis;
    • Modelling;
    • Multiple choice questions
    Learning design
    • Independent learning;
    • Problem solving;
    • Visual learning;
    • Demonstrations

    Other details

    • Script writer
    • Subject matter expert
    • Name: Graham Coghill
    • Address: Marcus Beach QLD 4573 Australia
    • Educational validator
    • Name: Denis Goodrum
    • Organisation: Australian National University
    • Address: Canberra ACT 2600 Australia
    • URL:
    • Technical implementer
    • Publisher
    • Date of contribution: 28 Jan 2014
    • Organisation: Education Services Australia
    • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
    • URL:
    Access profile
    • Colour independence
    • Device independence
    • Hearing independence
    Learning resource type
    • Tablet friendly (Interactive resource)
    • any - minimum version: Microsoft Edge (Windows); Default Android Browser
    • Google Chrome - minimum version: 35+ (Windows, macOS, Android)
    • Firefox - minimum version: 45+ (Windows & Mac)
    • ms-internet explorer - minimum version: 10+ (Windows)
    • Safari - minimum version: 7+ (Mac); Safari for iOS 9+ (iOS)
    Operating systems
    • ms-windows - minimum version: Vista+
    • macos - minimum version: 10.9+
    • ios - minimum version: 9+
    • android - minimum version: 5+
    • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2011, except where indicated under Acknowledgements. Unless otherwise indicated, this material may be used in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence