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Plate Tectonics, Volcanoes, and Earthquakes (5th Grade)
by Sabrina McAllister and Chris Pugh
Prepare a chart to compare how volcanoes, earthquakes, faulting, and plate movements affect the earth's surface features.
Make, record, display and interpret data and graphs that include whole numbers, decimals, and fractions.
Creativity and Innovation C.
use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.
In this lesson, the students will work in partners. One partner will be the researcher. The other will be the recorder. The Researcher will open Google Earth. The recorder will open OpenOffice.org.
The Researcher will...
Open Google Earth.
Click in "Fly To" box and type "Mount St. Helens". Click the magnifying glass to zoom to the mountain.
Look in the lower left corner of the window for the LAYERS section.
Click on the triangle beside the GALLERY layer to expand it.
Click in the checkbox to add EARTHQUAKES icons to the Google Earth.
Click on the 5 different Earthquake symbols and help the recorder to accurately record the date, time, and magnitude into each cell of the spreadsheet.
The Recorder will...
Open OpenOffice.org and click SPREADSHEET to create a blank spreadsheet.build a table to put earthquake date and time information.
Click and drag the divider between the A and B labels to stretch the width of the column.
Click on the label for Column B.
Click on the FORMAT menu from the top and choose CELLS.
Click on Number and change Decimal places to 1.
Click in Cell A3 and type "Date/Time".
Click in Cell B3 and type "Magnitude".
Click in Cell B1 and type Earthquake Data.
Starting in A4 type the date and time for the earthquake shared by the researcher. In B4, type the magnitude for the earthquake.
Repeat for each of the other earthquake data icons that the researcher shares. Put each in its own row.
When all are recorded, highlight cells A3 down to A8 and over to column B.
Click on the DATA menu in the top menu bar and choose SORT.
In the sort window, change the 1st "Sort by" drop-down menu from "Magnitude" to "Date/Time". Click OK.
Highlight Cell B3 down to B8.
Click on the chart button. Walk through the wizard to create an easy to read graph.
Choose a graph.
Decide which is more helpful, "Data Series in Rows" or "Data Series in Columns".
Skip the step 3.
In the Chart Elements, add a title and subtitle.
Type their name and the researcher's name in the 2 different cells in Row 1.
Click FILE and PRINT. Print 2 copies, one for each partner.
To tie the earthquake data with plate tectonics, TTW add the Volcanoes layer and finally a Tectonic Plates overlay downloaded from
to allow the students to make observations about the relationship between earthquakes, volcanoes, and tectonic plates.
help on how to format text
Turn off "Getting Started"