Discovering Plate Boundaries
To develop student observation and description skills with geologic data presented on global maps
S6.D.1 - Earth features and processes that change Earth and its resources
S7.D.1 - Earth features and processes that change Earth and its resources
S8.D.1 - Earth features and processes that change Earth and its resources
Standard Area 7.1 - Basic Geographic Literacy
The original exercise is available on the Rice University website (http://plateboundary.rice.edu), the SERC website, the NAGT website, and with supporting sources provided below. The full article from the Journal of Geoscience Education on the DPB exercise is available for free online (article PDF). The attached files include the version of DPB presented at the Earth and Space Science Partnership (ESSP) Workshop for Plate Tectonics.
To learn more about the jigsaw technique, visit SERC's Jigsaw unit.
Preparation Time Needed
You will need some time to print off copies of the maps and design the student groups for the jigsaw activity.
Class Time Required
The exercise is done over about three hours, usually in 50-minute periods on three separate days, but it can also be done in a three hour lab period.
Discovering Plate Boundaries (DPB) is a data rich exercise to help students discover the processes that occur at plate tectonic boundaries. DPB has been used with students from 5th grade to university level. It works well over this wide range because it requires the students to observe and classify data. It does not require prior knowledge of plate tectonics. The exercise is built around global data maps.
The exercise is based on the “jigsaw” concept, mixing the students to work in different groups during the exercise. DPB includes opportunities for all students to make oral presentations to their fellow students. The exercise is done over about three hours, usually in 50-minute periods on three separate days, but it can also be done in a three hour lab period. Although the data used in DPB are state-of-the-art, the exercise does not depend on student access to computers. Unlike many others, this exercise is based on observation and classification, rather than learning computer data manipulation skills.