Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Plate Tectonics: Moving Continents

This activity demonstrates how the tectonic plates move on the asthenosphere.

Prep Work:(check out this post, for more information on the gak/putty used in this activity)
Create a solution by dissolving Borax in water. Place a small amount of this solution into a small cup (one for each pair of students). Place a small amount of diluted white glue into another small cup (one for each pair of students).

The Activity:
Each pair of students is given a small (roughly 3”x5”) piece of fun foam. The foam is cut into two pieces – it can be cut in curving or zigzagging lines, but the pieces should not interlock.

Students create the asthenosphere “putty” as follows:
-Obtain two cups – one containing a small amount of glue, the other containing a mixture of Borax and water.
-Pour the Borax mixture into the glue cup
-Stir the mixture using a straw
-After stirring, pour the excess water into the sink
-Knead the putty with your hand for several minutes, until it is no longer sticky

Place the putty onto a plate and pat it into a pancake.

Place the two pieces of foam onto the putty, making sure the cut edges are right next to each other.

Observe your foam pieces for the next five minutes. Draw what occurs at each one-minute interval. Label the distance between the two pieces of foam on each drawing.

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