Plate Tectonics WebQuest




Almost all of the processes that shape our Earth are affected by what is going on deep under the crust. The formation of volcanoes is evidence that the inside of the earth is not just solid rock, and the growth of mountains implies immense forces at work to push mountains so high. In fact, the movement of material in the Earth even affects the weather that we have. Many scientists believe that life would not be possible on Earth if it were not for the activity going on miles beneath our feet.




When you finish this web quest you should be able to:


  • Explain the theory of plate tectonics
  • Indicate some of the evidence that supports the theory of plate tectonics
  • Explain how plate tectonics has shaped the surface of the Earth
  • Determine what kind of plate boundary a given location has
  • Describe the driving force for plate movement
  • Explain some of the ways that plate tectonics affect humanity


Use the website links provided, or any others you want, and answer the following questions. Each group of questions has a recommended website link to search for the answers. Once you have found an answer use a word processor on your computer and type out the answer. For each answer that you used a website for, also type (or copy and paste) the website where you found the answer.


1. What evidence did Alfred Wagner use to support his theory of continental drift?

2. Why do you think people didn't believe continental drift theory when Wagner first explained it?

3. Who were the two scientists that brought forth supporting evidence to Wagner's theory, and what was their evidence?

(Recommended link for questions 1-3) Alfred Wagner

(Cool animation) Continental Drift

4. What are the three different types of plate boundaries, describe each type?

5. Give an example of a location on Earth where each type of plate boundary is present.

6. What are the three different types of convergent plate boundaries?

7. Give an example of a location on Earth where each type of convergent plate boundaries occurs.

8. Explain what plate tectonics and ocean trenches have in common?

(Recommended link for questions 4-8) Plate boundaries

9. How old are the rocks off the east coast of North America relative to the rocks right along the mid Atlantic ridge, why do you think this is the case?

(Recommended link for question 9) Sea-floor spreading

10. What is a convection current or cell, describe how it works (use a picture if you want)?

11. What are the two main sources of heat inside the Earth?

(Recommended link for questions 10-11) Convection

12. What are two bad things that can happen as a result of plate tectonics, how did plate tectonics cause these events?

13. What are three good things that plate tectonics provide for humans, how do plate tectonics provide these things?

(Recommended link for questions 12-13) Humans and Plate Tectonics



What is the Ring of Fire?



How will knowing about plate tectonics help you to understand the world around you?

(at least one paragraph)



Web Quest Grading.


Points Possible

Points Received

Student has completely answered each question.



Student's answers are given in well-developed, complete sentences.



Student has given where they found the information in each of their answers.



Student's answers are typed.



Extra credit



Student not wandering on computer during class time devoted for web quest.



Total (out of 105)