The History of the Earth WebQuest
Virginia Science SOL 5.7

Introduction / Your Task / Resources / Helpful Hints
Process / Evaluation / Conclusion / Culminating Activities

Introduction
The Earth has an amazing history. Did you know that at one time the Earth looked very different? All of the continents were connected! One way we know this is through the study of fossils. You will "dig up" some information on fossils and journey through the center of Earth where you will learn about the Earth's layers, plate tectonics, and the rock cycle. You will also discover how volcanoes and earthquakes are formed. Let's begin our journey of the history of the Earth!

Your Task
Working with a partner, research the history of the Earth. Keep in mind these questions as you explore.
              What are the different layers of the Earth?
               How has the Earth changed? 
           
  How are rocks formed?  What is the rock cycle?
           
   What does plate tectonics have to do with volcanoes and earthquakes?
           
  What are fossils and what can we learn from them?

Resources
Internet resources listed below
The Luck Stone Rock CD-ROM (available to many Virginia elementary schools, optional activity)

Helpful Hints
As you research each topic watch for hints that are given to help you focus your search. Transfer all your notes carefully and completely. You will use these notes to complete an assignment. Always remember to credit graphics in your bibliography.

Teacher Note:  It is suggested that each group be supplied with three sheets of lined-loose leaf paper and two sheets of no-line, stapled together in a note-packet format to allow for uniformity.

Process
   
1. With a partner, follow the directions for the four sections that follow.
     2. Remember to follow the helpful hints for the Web sites.
     3. When you complete the four sections, all the new information should be in your notes-packet  
        
that will allow you to create a PowerPoint presentation on the history of the Earth. 

         Your presentation must have the following components:
                   A title slide, including the names of group members
                   One slide for each section you researched: (1) Layers of the Earth and
                           Plate Tectonics, (2) The Rock Cycle, (3) Volcanoes and Earthquakes,
                           and (4) Fossils
                  
One slide describing three interesting facts you learned from your research
                  
At least three or four appropriate graphics
                  
One slide listing the information sources (bibliography)
                  
Your presentation must have a total of seven slides   

       4. Print your PowerPoint presentation (6 slides per page) and turn-in with the notes-packet.. 

Section I - Layers of the Earth and Plate Tectonics


           
I. Copy the diagram of the Earth in your notes. Label the different layers of the Earth and then
               describe in your own words how the Earth's layers were formed.  Use this Web site to help 
               find the layers of the Earth:
               
http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/vwlessons/lessons/Earths_layers/Earths_layers1.html.

                                   

        II. In addition to completing the diagram, answer the following questions. Use neat and complete
            sentences!  Use this Web site to answer the questions:
           
http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/vwlessons/lessons/Pangea/Pangea1.html.

              What is Pangea?
              In your own words, describe the Continental Drift Theory. Whose theory is it?
              What are plates? How many are there? How far do they move each year?
              List and describe the three types of plate boundaries.

        III. Go to http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/tryit/tectonics/#. Move the Earth's plates and see
            what occurs. Describe what happens when you move each plate. Helpful Hint: Click on "Plate 
            Tectonics Activity" at the top of the page.
        IV Save your notes-packet and use it to complete all of the activities. Be sure to credit sources.

Section II - The Rock Cycle


  
     I. Create a diagram of the rock cycle. Use this Web site to complete the  
            diagram:
http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/vwlessons/lessons/Rocks/Rocks6.html.
        II. Find out more about the three types of rocks. Create a three column chart. Use the
            example below to help you. For each rock type, describe how it is formed and give two examples 
            of each rock.  Use this Web site to research the different types of rocks:
           
http://www.fi.edu/fellows/payton/rocks/create/index.html.   

 Rock Type How Formed

 Examples (2)

Igneous    
Sedimentary    
Metamorphic    


                                                         

        III. Save your notes-packet and use it to complete all of the activities. Be sure to credit sources.

Section III - Volcanoes and Earthquakes


  
     I. Research volcanoes and earthquakes. In your notes-packet, answer the following
           questions. Use neat and complete sentences!  Use the Web sites listed below to answer the 
           questions:
  
                                         

            Volcano               

        
   http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/vwlessons/lessons/Volcanoes/Volcanoes1.html
                    1. What are the two definitions for the term volcano?
                    2. Where do volcanoes form?
                    3. What is a lava dome?
                    4. Define active, dormant, and extinct volcanoes in your own words
.
  
        Earthquake        
            http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/vwdocs/vwlessons/lessons/Rolling_earth/Rolling_earth1.html
                    1. What is an earthquake?
                    2. Describe the focus and the epicenter of an earthquake.
                    3. How are earthquake waves produced? List the three types of waves.
                    4. What does a Richter Scale show?
        II.
Save your notes-packet and use it to complete all of the activities. Be sure to credit sources.

Section IV  - Fossils


       
I. In your notes-packet, answer the following questions. Use neat and complete sentences! 
            Use this Web site to answer the questions:
           
http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/education/explorations/tours/fossil/.
            Helpful Hint: Click on Student, Level  2, to start.

  
        
  
                 1. What is a fossil? What questions can the fossil record help us to answer?
                    2. Describe the difference between a body fossil and a trace fossil.
                    3. Why are organisms that are buried rapidly more likely to fossilize?
                    4. In what type of rock would you most likely find fossils? Why?
                    5. Describe three geologic forces that could destroy a fossil.
                    6. In your own words, explain why the fossil record is not complete.
        II.
Save your notes-packet and use it to complete all of the activities. Be sure to credit sources.

  Additional Resources
   For additional information on the history of the Earth, use the following Web sites:
   
http://pubs.usgs.gov/publications/text/dynamic.html#anchor4161180
    http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/fossils/contents.html
    http://library.thinkquest.org/17701/high/index.html
    http://library.thinkquest.org/22360/
    http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/education/explorations/tours/intro/

Evaluation (Project value 200 points)

  1. Evaluation is based on the accuracy and completeness of the data gathered in your notes-packet

  2. Your PowerPoint presentation, that follow the class guidelines for the presentation

  3. Turned-in printout of your PowerPoint presentation, with your notes-packet

  4. Peer evaluation sheet for performance during project

Conclusion
After your research is complete, you should be able to easily answer the questions at the beginning of this WebQuest. You should have an understanding of how the Earth has changed, plate tectonics, the layers of the Earth, and the rock cycle. You should also be able to explain how volcanoes and earthquakes are formed and what can be learned from fossils.

Culminating Activities
Turn in your finished work and complete the following activities.
**Test what you have learned about the rock cycle and the three types of rocks by taking the Rock Hound Quiz at http://www.fi.edu/fellows/payton/rocks/quiz/index.html.

**What types of rocks are present in Virginia? Explore the rocks of Virginia through The Luck Stone Rock CD-ROM, if available, from your teacher..

Introduction / Your Task / Resources / Helpful Hints
Process / Evaluation / Conclusion / Culminating Activities

  WebQuest graphics: Microsoft Clip Art  http://encarta.msn.com
                                                            http://volcano.und.nodak.edu/
                                                            http://school.discovery.com/clipart/
                                                            http://www.fi.edu/fellows/payton/rocks/create/index.html
                                                            http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/education/explorations/tours/fossil/.
           

Site modified: July, 2006
Email comments