rSuperstars 2015

Lesson Plan for Day 2 - Lithosphere

(Return to Unit Pacing Guide)

(Mr. McKinney, Spring 2015)

Outline of Lesson Plan for Day 2: (Unit on The Earth’s Lithosphere - Processes and Forces)

Students will understand how plate tectonics and earthquakes impact the lithosphere.
What are Earthquakes?
What is Plate Tectonics?
How do Plate Tectonics and Earthquakes impact the Lithosphere?

Class watches latest video report from BBC news about Nepal earthquake damage (deaths, injuries, and damage).

Class shares personal reactions after watching update on the Nepal earthquake.

Class watches science video about "Plate Tectonics and Plate Boundaries."

Class discussion regarding the graphics in the Washington Post article about the Nepal earthquake.

Students individually diagram (draw) the key graphics from the Washington Post article about the Nepal earthquake.

Students take turns reading out loud (pages 248-255 of textbook) about Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics.

Students work in pairs to complete "Vocabulary & Question" pertaining to the Nepal earthquake.

Students turn in their "Washington Post diagrams" and "Vocabulary & Question" for grading by teacher.

Begin Day 2 Lesson Plan:

Our objective today is to understand how plate tectonics and earthquakes impact the lithosphere. Who remembers what we mean when we say “plate tectonics?” What does that phrase mean?

Yesterday, we watched a video about the Nepal earthquake. Today, we will watch an updated report from Nepal produced by BBC news. As before, you want to begin by taking a close look at the globe near your table to identify the location of Nepal - between India and China. You should be able to see the Himalayas, the mountains in Nepal, where India and Tibet (or China) come together. Ask for help if you have trouble finding Nepal on the globe.

Class watches latest BBC video report from Nepal.

What is your reaction to the update on the death toll and damage in Nepal? In other words, how do you feel about what you saw and heard in the video?

We are now going to watch an interesting science video about “Plate Tectonics and Plate Boundaries.” This will be very helpful for understanding earthquakes.

Class watches science video about "Plate Tectonics and Plate Boundaries."

Are there any questions about the video?

Let’s review a newspaper article about the Nepal earthquake that includes interesting and helpful graphics. The classroom projector displays the article and each student should open their laptop to the following web page.



Notice how the article includes two maps to help the reader see, or visualize, the location of the earthquake event. The map on the left shows a very large area (China, Nepal, India, and the Indian Ocean) and a “detail box” that is presented with additional, close-up information on the right side of the graphic. Let’s take another quick look at this region of the world on our classroom globe (hold up globe). As we have discussed before, on all of our class projects we want to include at least two maps, one with the larger view and the other with a detailed view.

The detail map shows the fault, or fault line, described in the video. This is the line showing where the Earth fractured. In other words, the rocks were cracked or fractured along this line. The coloring on the map shows the area where people could feel the shaking of the ground. In other words, the colored region is the shake area of the earthquake.

As you can see, the country of Nepal is located between India and China or Tibet. Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal with a population of nearly one million people. Nepal and Kathmandu are very popular tourist destinations because of the beautiful mountains of the Himalayas and Mt. Everest, the mountain with the highest altitude in the world. In other words, Mt. Everest has a higher elevation above sea level than any other mountain on the Earth. The map shows the epicenter of the earthquake, which is the location on the surface of Earth that is directly above the center of the earthquake. You can see that the epicenter of the earthquake is west of Mt. Everest and northwest of Kathmandu. The map shows a small part of China, a portion of India, and New Delhi, which is the capital of India. You can also see the Ganges River which flows through the countries of India and Bangladesh.

As you saw in the video, tectonic activity makes this region very unstable and, as a result, likely to experience earthquakes. The second graphic of the Washington Post article shows what the video discussed about the collision, millions of years ago, of the Indian tectonic plate into the Eurasian tectonic plate causing the crust to buckle and fracture. The video discussed how the leading edge of the Indian plate “subducted” beneath the Eurasian plate, which is shown clearly in the second newspaper graphic. The Indian plate pushed up the crust to create the mountains and continues to push up the mountains even today. The convergence, or coming together, of the two plates was described in the video.


Each student should draw in their class notebook the two diagrams shown in the Washington Post article (and shown above). For both drawings, be sure to include the text shown in the newspaper graphics.

We can gain a better understanding of earthquakes if we understand tectonic plates. We will now take turns reading out loud about Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics on pages 248-255 of the textbook. (Each student will read one paragraph.)

We are now going to work in pairs (with the person next to you) to complete our vocabulary worksheet for today. Each person needs to complete the Vocabulary & Question worksheet for Earthquakes. Be sure to answer the question at the end of the list.

Vocabulary & Question for Earthquakes
(Please define or answer each of the following using one or two complete sentences.)

Tectonic Plates:

Convergent Boundary:








Earthquake Waves:

Richter Scale:

Building Codes:

Describe the Nepal earthquake’s impact on families, including their pets and property:

End of Vocabulary & Question

Be sure to turn in your Nepal earthquake diagrams (notebooks) and Vocabulary & Question worksheet for grading before leaving the classroom today.

Students turn in their "Nepal Earthquake Diagrams" and "Vocabulary & Question for Earthquakes" for grading by the teacher.

End of Day 2 Lesson Plan

T. McKinney
(April, 2015)

Essential Standard: Explain how processes and forces affect the lithosphere.

NCES Earth