Major Tectonic Plates

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for Structure of the Earth


Tectonic Plate Map

Example



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Activity Overview


In this activity, students will label the tectonic plates on a map of the world. Please note the map available through Storyboard That only covers the major tectonic plates. It doesn’t cover some of the smaller plates.

Students should also identify a convergent, divergent, and transform boundary and show their movement with arrows. An example of a divergent boundary is the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between the African and South American Plate. An example of a transform boundary is the San Andreas Fault between the North American and the Pacific Plate. An example of a convergent boundary is the boundary between the Indian and the Eurasian Plate, at the Himalayas.

To scaffold this activity, give students the names of the plates and ask to put them in the correct places. To challenge your more advanced students, have them label the direction that all the plates are travelling in, and have them predict what the world will look like millions of years in the future.


Tectonic PlateLocation
African Plate The African Plate contains the whole of the continent of Africa and the southeastern part of the Atlantic Ocean.
Antarctic Plate The Antarctic Plate contains the continent of Antarctica and the surrounding seas and oceans.
Arabian PlateThe Arabian Plate contains the Arabian peninsula. It is bordered by the Indian, African, and the Eurasian Plates.
Australian Plate The Australian Plate contains Australia and New Zealand.
Caribbean Plate The Caribbean Plate runs from the north coast of South America up to the south coast of Cuba. It borders the North and South American Plates and the Cocos Plate.
Cocos PlateThe Cocos Plate is a tectonic plate that lies under the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of Central America.
Eurasian Plate The Eurasian Plate contains most of the continents of Europe and Asia. The plate also contains some of the northeast region of the Atlantic Ocean.
Indian Plate The Indian Plate contains the country of India and some of the Indian Ocean. It borders with the Eurasian, Arabian, and Australian Plates.
Nazca Plate The Nazca Plate lies off the western coast of continental South America under the Pacific Ocean. It is bounded on the east by the Pacific Plate.
North American Plate The North American Plate covers most of the continent of North America, Greenland, and some of Iceland. It covers the northwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean.
Pacific Plate The Pacific Plate is the largest plate and is under the Pacific Ocean.
Philippine Sea PlateThe Philippine Sea Plate lies beneath the Philippine Sea.
Scotia Plate The Scotia Plate is a minor plate between the South American Plate and the Antarctic Plate in the Southern Ocean.
South American PlateThe South American Plate covers the majority of continental South America. It is bordered by the Nazca Plate to the west and the African Plate in the east.


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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Label the positions of the different major tectonic plates.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Search for ‘tectonic plates’ and drag and drop the tectonic plate map into the storyboard.
  3. Label the tectonic plates.
  4. Identify a convergent, divergent, and transform boundary and show movement with arrows.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.
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