Comparing Plate Tectonics

Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 11124

The earth sure has its share of ups and downs and ins and outs! Choose one of three creative projects to display your knowledge of the hows, whys, and whats of the different plates and their effects!


Earth Science

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Do you know what's moving beneath your feet right now?

It's the earth's tectonic plates! Explore the three different types of plate tectonics — divergent, convergent, and transform boundaries — and compare how they're similar and different.

Revisit the fascinating world of plate tectonics and explore how divergent boundaries create new crust, how convergent boundaries cause collisions and subduction, and how transform boundaries create earthquakes.

Gain an even deeper understanding of the dynamic and ever-changing nature of the earth's crust and how the movement of its plates has shaped the world you live in

There are three main types of tectonic plate movements: convergent, divergent, and transform.

  • Why is it important to know about the different types of tectonic plate movements?

Plate tectonics shape the earth’s surface and create natural disasters. Due to their effect on the earth, humans in certain parts of the world must make accommodations to their lives based on these boundaries.

Review these boundaries using the Graphic Organizer - Triple Venn Diagram from Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar.

  1. Label each circle on the Venn diagram with the name of one of the plate movements.
  1. As you watch the video below, compare and contrast convergent, divergent, and transform boundaries.
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After you have completed the Venn diagram, take a look at the image below.

  1. Name each of the plate tectonics illustrated, and explain how you were able to identify the type of movement being displayed.
  1. Then, slide to the second image to check your thinking.

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