“Plate Tectonics: Information, Evidence, and Criticism”

a unit of study for high school science

presented by JC King, Lockney High School

Wayland Baptist University ASSIST Class, Academic Year 2007-2008

TEKS Reference: 3.A (all high school sciences) — The student is expected to analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information.

Abstract: This unit, while apparently geared toward a course such as G.M.O. or Environmental Systems, is in fact applicable to any course of study in high school science. This is due to two factors. First, science TEKS 3.A is a unifying strand. Second, an understanding of theories seeking to explain observed and inferred crustal changes requires an understanding of material from several disciplines (astronomy, chemistry, geology, oceanography, paleontology), and has bearing on the deeper comprehension of several others (ecology, climatology, etc.)

In addition to fostering deeper understanding of plate tectonics, sea floor spreading, and continental drift, students will exercise reasoning and rational thinking skills as they examine and evaluate evidence and arguments, both historical and contemporary, which support and challenge these ideas. This unit will also emphasize the process of gleaning scientifically reputable supporting information from the vast oceans of opinion, misinformation, and other general kookiness offered in abundance on the Internet.

Final demonstration and evaluation of student understanding will come in the form of structured in-class debates where student teams will be required to prepare affirmative and negative cases addressing points of contention in modern interpretations of data on crustal movement.

  1. Introduction to Plate Tectonics — Vocabulary Word Wall
  2. Introduction to Plate Tectonics — Concept Attainment
  3. Examination and Evaluation of the Charles William Johnson Paper
  4. Examination and Evaluation of the The David Pratt Paper

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The random musings of a 30-something, West Texas high-school science teacher. Hoo-RAY.
August 2020


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