“Plate Detective” is a tool that enables students to compile scientific data from sea floor topography, volcano distributions, earthquake distributions, sea floor age, and magnetic patterns to create a model of plate boundaries.

Students relive the 50+ year saga that led to the theory of plate tectonics through a 30 minute activity.

The tool covers content mandated by state and national standards, as well as supporting the creation of models and the role of data sets in science.

To use the tool: Place the six colored sheets inside a transparent sheet protector in the following order: sea floor map; volcanoes; earthquakes; sea floor age; magnetic patterns; answer key. Instruct students to read the title and then choose one colored marking pen to trace the evidence. Move through each sheet until a map of plate boundaries emerge.