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Planning Document

Please note - the material herein has been in part generated uniquely for this unit and in part taken from the resource collections of several teachers. The origins of some of the material are now unknown and therefore crediting is not possible. If you believe that material over which you own the IP has been used in contravention of your wishes please send an email to and your material will be unpublished or credited according to your wishes forthwith.


8 Weeks - 14 x 1hr sessions

AusVELS standards addressed

Science Understanding



Science as a Human Endeavour




Science Inquiry Skills







Text Referenced

Pearson Science 9 Student Book – Greg Rickard, Warrick Clarke, Jacinta Devlin, Greg Linstead, Maggie Spenceley, Kristina Love & David Madden

Pre Activities

Have students create a new note on their iPad entitled Plate Tectonics Glossary. Make sure it has 2 sections ; one for Words and the other for Terms. List can be found here for teacher reference

Alternatively have them create a Google document to share with you so you may check their progress.

Home/Theory Activity Sequence (Blendspace Multimedia)

Classroom Activity Sequence



Learning Intentions

Success Criteria





Establish pre knowledge

Complete test

Pre Test

Online Test



To investigate the location of active volcanoes worldwide and infer from their distribution a pattern in relation to continents

Students should be able to -

Demonstrate an understanding of -

  1. That Earth's land masses sit upon plates
  2. These plates are moving
  3. That where the plates interact is commonly the site of geological activity

Participate effectively in a discussion

Apply deductive logic

Make and evaluate inferences from gathered data

  1. Install smoothboard software to computer connected to a projector
  2. Divide class into 4 groups each has a volcano list and a colour
  3. Select or elect one person from each group with an iPad to be the recorder. Have that person scan the QR code to bring up your screen
  4. Load the world map on your screen
  5. Have the group find each volcano on Google Maps and
  6. Have the recorder then mark with a triangle of the same colour as their list text the approximate location of each volcano
  7. You will build a map of the volcanic areas of the globe quite quickly
  8. Discuss the pattern of results and draw out inferences

Guiding questions for discussion

What is a volcano?

Why are the volcanoes in lines, what does this imply?

Where are the volcanoes lines located?

What do you notice about the shape of the land masses adjacent the areas of volcanic activity?

Smoothboard Software (Free)

World Map 

Volcano List

Non-Melba use below



Learning Intentions

Success Criteria




H/W 2-5

Investigate convection and the role of heat in the formation of physical features of the Earth.

Students should be able to -

Define and apply the concept of convection

Explain convection in relation to Earth's structure

To correlate the behaviour of semi fluids when heated with geological structures.

Complete  Prac 10.1  Part 2

Discuss results,elucidate the principle of Convection

Have students  create a new note in notes on their iPad titled  Plate Tectonics Glossary - enter this definition of convection

”The movement caused within a fluid by the tendency of hotter and therefore less dense material to rise, and colder, denser material to sink under the influence of gravity, which consequently results in transfer of heat”

Have students add small amounts of water to the pan until the cornstarch reaches a pasty consistency.

Instruct students to hold one edge of the pan over the candle until bubbles form in the cornstarch.

Then tell them to very slowly move the pan across the flame. As the pan moves, they should notice the row of bubbles that is created.

Discuss the following:

What does the candle represent?

What does the pan represent?

What does the cornstarch represent?

What do the bubbles represent?

The bubbles are similar to a volcano that forms over a hot spot. How do volcanoes form islands?

Have students enter the answers in  Panel 5 to their glossary note

Theory Page

Practical 10.1 Part 2 P548 Pearson Science


10 small pie tins


10 candles




Learning Intentions

Success Criteria




H/W 6-11

To investigate magnetism and the role of magnetic banding in providing evidence for seafloor spreading

Students should be able to -


Demonstrate iron filings in  a magnetic field on an overhead projector

Discuss in relation to  Earth's magnetic field see field image in resources

Demonstrate the permanent magnetization of a nail  by wrapping it in a coil of wire and passing current.

Discuss implications for metallic iron  properties on Earth (ie alignment of magnetic fields)

Discuss pole reversal historically

Carry out Practical 10.1 Part 1 P548 Pearson

Answer discussion questions as  per need (from text)

Magnetic Banding Practical Exercise

Earth’s Magnetic Field Image



Learning Intentions

Success Criteria



5 & 6

H/W 12-15

To use real earthquake data to visualise in 3D a subducting plate boundary in scale

Students should-


Generated map

Plotted points

Calculated depth scale

Fitted cotton and balls

Answered results questions

Analysed boundary interaction type from visualization.

Plotting a boundary shape activity

Non-Melba use below

Google Maps with  longitude and latitude graticule

Scale Calculator

Non-Melba use below

7 & 8

H/W 16-18

To familiarise students with an eruption type of their choosing and to place volcanic eruptions in a social/human impact context

Students should be able to -


Eruptions by death toll activity

Non-Melba use below

Eruptions by deaths

Infographic Rubric

Non-Melba use below


H/W 19-21

Introduction to Sine waves, wave propagation, reflection and decay

Students should be able to -


Exploration of Sine waves

Define terms Amplitude, Frequency, Peak, Trough and Wavelength using a diagram

Use wave tank to investigate wave propagation, decay and reflection

Work with slinky spring to establish the two possible waveforms that can be generated by a slinky

Define Compression and Shear

Carry out human wave activity

Relate these to P and S waves in earthquakes - use P wave and S wave slinky images. These are Body Waves (ie through the Earth) there also Surface Waves such as the Love and Raleigh Wave

these cannot be simulated with a slinky easily

Waves in water demo

Non-Melba use below

Plastic storage box

with graduations

Polystyrene floats


Fishing Line


Tape for flags

Tennis ball

Ping Pong ball

P Wave

S Wave

human wave activity

Non-Melba use below

Love Wave

Raleigh Wave



Learning Intentions

Success Criteria





Students should be able to -


Determining distance from the difference in wave travel times.

Go to oval take freezer bags. Have one student stand on one side and a student with a stopwatch on the other. Have the first student inflate and pop the freezer bag above their head. Have the second student start the stopwatch when they see the student pop the bag and stop when they hear the bag pop. Measure the distance accurately between the two students. Sound travels at 340 ms at sea level and light for our purposes is infinitely fast. From the time interval calculate the distance between the students using the formula time in seconds x 340. Compare this to the actual distance.

(You may do this in groups or as a demonstration)

Complete EQ location from P an S Wave data exercise

Freezer bags

Measuring wheel


NOTE turns out this actually works better with good old plain brown paper bags!


Non-Melba use below


H/W 22

Earthquakes and buildings

Students should be able to -


Investigating Buildings and Earthquakes

Non-Melba use below

Earthquake generator table

Templates for boxes (see Compass)

Glue sticks

Marker Pen


Thin card


Predicting Tsunamis

Coming Soon

Coming Soon