Purpose of this activity is to demonstrate how the continental separations work and to explain the Pangaea. The plates will start out together and then will brake apart to form Earth’s plates.
· Cookie sheet
· Dirt, 2 cups (0.5 liter)
· Bowl, 1 qt. (1 liter)
Procedure: Have the students work together in small groups. Pour the dirt into the bowl. Add water and stir with the spoon until you have a thick mud. Pour the mud into the cookie sheet. Set the pan of mud in the sun for 2 to 3 days. After 2/3 days, push down around the sides of the dried mud. What you will observe is the surface of the dried mud cake crack. The mud is broken into pieces with jagged edges and all the pieces fit together.
Why did this happen? The continents of the earth like the mud cake, looks like large jigsaw-puzzle pieces. The coastlines of the continents have irregular shapes that appear to fit together. In the past, pressure within the earth may have broken a large land mass into pieces that now form the separate continents on the Earth. (Van Cleave, 1991) Have the students view a picture of the Continental Plates to compare.