Dynamic-Runnable Plate Tectonics Models
Included in the Curriculum were a set of dynamic models that were designed to help students understand how the processes inside the earth are related to the geologic formations on the surface (these are in Activity 5 in the curriculum). In these models, students were able to view the layers of the earth, the convection inside the mantle, and mountains or volcanoes that resulted from the plate movement. These models were designed to help students visualize the causal, dynamic, and temporal features for different plate boundaries.
Previous research has shown that visualization facilitates the understanding of dynamic phenomena and that middle and high school students can understand rich dynamic concepts if provided with the appropriate scaffolds and tools. In MTV, we used findings from visual information processing in order to design scaffolds to guide students' knowledge acquisition processes for the dynamic models. More specifically, in addition to orienting tasks to the students in the form on instructions, we used a text to accompany the dynamic models in order to guide students' understanding of the causal and dynamic information in the models.
To see the models developed for and incorporated into the "What's on Your Plate?" Curriculum go to: