Plate Tectonics Activities

The first three activities below are variations on the theme of ages of the basement rock spreading outward from the mid-Atlantic Ridge as determined by Deep Sea Drilling Project scientists with samples of microfossils taken by RV Glomar Challenger in 1968.  These activities may also be used with our poster, Microfossils - The Ocean's Storytellers.

1. For simple graphing with foundational data, try Plate Tectonics and Contributions from Scientific Ocean Drilling (high school and older) or Nannofossils Reveal Seafloor Spreading Truth (elementary to middle school).
2. An Expedition to the Seafloor allows students to mine the data via Google Earth.
3. Modeling Plate Tectonics places the data into the tried and true paper model that’s been around for many years.

The Race Is On… with Seafloor Spreading! This activity is based on data that helped scientists determine where the crust had spread at a "super-fast" rate, making it a good spot to drill through the outer layer (which has yet to be accomplished).  In addition, our poster, The Hole Story about Ocean Cores, tells the story of drill site 1256 in the “super-fast” area, where the JOIDES Resolution has returned several times to drill one continuous core sample through the outer crust.

As always, you are invited to follow the adventures of the JOIDES Resolution drill ship, where you can join the expeditions, interact with the scientists and search for more about topics like plate tectonics!


To search for more resources related to this topic, go to our Educator Resources page.