Advanced Environmental and Earth Sciences Teacher Guide

(PS-2979)

Teacher manual for Advanced Environmental and Earth Sciences labs. Has both the printed version and a flash drive with teacher tips, a PDF of teacher version and editable Word student version.

Tectonics: Seafloor Spreading

Lab Summary

Use a magnetic field sensor to explore the movement of Earth's crustal plates and the evidence that is used to support the theory of plate tectonics.

Theory

Use models to explore the movement of Earth's crustal plates and the evidence that is used to support the theory of plate tectonics. During this investigation, students:

  • Explain that seafloor spreading causes Earth's plates to move.
  • Explain how paleomagnetism provides the evidence for seafloor spreading.
  • Explore the reason for magnetic reversals within rock.

Method

Students gain experience conducting the following procedures:

  • Measuring the magnetic field of a bar magnet using a magnetic field sensor.
  • Measuring and comparing the magnetic fields of natural hand size specimens of magnetite and basalt.
  • Measuring the magnetic field on an ocean floor model and determining the location of the spreading center.
  • Identifying the pattern of magnetic reversals surrounding a spreading center.

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT Magnetic Field Sensor

(PS-2112)

Provides magnetic field measurement in a very compact package. For use with PASPORT Interfaces.

Materials Used:

Strip of paper, 10 cm × 28 cm 
Cardboard or card stock, 15 cm × 20 cm
Colored pencils or markers, red and green - Several
Scissors 
Tape - 1 roll
Bar magnet
Basalt, hand size specimen 
Magnetite, hand size specimen
Seafloor spreading model

The Associated Bundle:

Advanced Environmental and Earth Science Standard Sensor Bundle

(PS-2916A)

Standard bundle for Advanced Environmental and Earth Sciences Teacher Guide,

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.