The Lithosphere
Age 11-13: Concept 1 - Semester 1: Unit 3

In this unit you will explore the part of the planet right under your feet (and quite a bit below). You'll learn about the soil in your state and investigate rocks in your area.

You'll also explore how the slowly moving plates that make up the Earth's crust interact with one another to form mountains, cause volcanic activity, and trigger earthquakes.

Other Items You May Need

The Age 11-13 semester 1 science units require materials from the Semester 1 Science Kit.
$64.99 #743 Age 11-13 - Semester 1 - Science Kit


  • Able to read and comprehend novels at a late 7th or 8th grade reading level
  • Able to write multiple paragraphs on a topic
  • Familiar with the five-paragraph essay

Table of Contents

  • Lesson 1: Shifting, Drifting, and Spreading (2 Days)
  • Lesson 2: Plate Interactions (2 Days)
  • Lesson 3: Rocks and Minerals (2 Days)
  • Lesson 4: Seismic Waves
  • Lesson 5: Earthquake and Volcano Research (2 Days)
  • Lesson 6: Geologic Time
  • Lesson 7: Pedosphere and Soil (2 Days)
  • Final Project: Our Lithosphere and Pedosphere (2 Days)

Summary of Skills

Moving Beyond the Page is based on state and national standards. These standards are covered in this unit.
  • Analyze soil properties that can be observed and measured to predict soil quality. (Science)
  • Assess the use of technology and information systems in monitoring lithospheric phenomena. (Science)
  • Describe the processes which form and the uses of earth materials including minerals; characteristics of rocks; economic use of rocks and minerals; value of gems and precious metals; and common gems, minerals, precious metals, and rocks found in various geographical regions. (Science)
  • Describe the processes which form and the uses of earth materials. (Science)
  • Evaluate the forces that shape the lithosphere including crustal plate movement, folding, faulting, and deposition. (Science)
  • Evaluate the forces that shape the lithosphere including earthquakes and volcanic activity. (Science)
  • Evaluate ways in which human activities have affected Earth's pedosphere and the measures taken to control the impact. (Science)
  • Examine earthquake and volcano patterns. (Science)
  • Interpret ways in which rocks, fossils, and ice cores record Earth's geologic history including geologic time scale, index fossils, law of superposition, and unconformity. (Science)
  • Know lithospheric plates the size of continents and oceans move at rates of centimeters per year in response to movements in the mantle. (Science)
  • Know that Earth is composed of several layers: 1) a cold, brittle lithosphere, 2) a hot, convecting mantle, and 3) a dense, metallic core. (Science)
  • Know that earthquakes are sudden motions along breaks in the crust called faults. (Science)
  • Know that evidence of plate tectonics is derived from the fit of the continents and the location of earthquakes, volcanoes, and mid-ocean ridges. (Science)
  • Know that evidence of plate tectonics is derived from the fit of the continents, the location of earthquakes, volcanoes, and mid-ocean ridges, and the distribution of fossils, rock types, and ancient climatic zones. (Science)
  • Know that fossils provide evidence of how life and environmental conditions have changed. (Science)
  • Know that major geologic events — such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain building — result from plate motions. (Science)
  • Know that plate tectonics accounts for important features of the Earth's surface and major geologic events. (Science)
  • Know that the rock cycle includes the formation of new sediment and rocks and that rocks are often found in layers, with the oldest generally on the bottom. (Science)
  • Know that volcanoes and fissures are locations where magma reaches the surface. (Science)
  • Predict land features resulting from gradual changes such as mountain building and continental drift. (Science)
  • Summarize the rock cycle. (Science)
  • Understand that the good health of environments and organisms requires monitoring of the pedosphere, stewardship, and taking steps to maintain soil quality. (Science)
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