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This investigation, designed for use early in a study of plate tectonics, asks students to draw conclusions about the Earth's crust based on patterns they detect in data sets. A mixture of guiding questions and brief informational text are used to help students analyze location data for volcanoes, earthquakes, and mountain belts worldwide. Students focus separately on each of these geologic features and then, on the investigation's final page, they overlay the locations of volcanoes, earthquakes, and mountain belts and are asked to devise a mental model of the Earth's crust. Students are led to conclude, for example, that there are weak areas or cracks in the crust. Classes not working from the textbook that this investigation supplements may use any world map for the final question. Copyright 2005 Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
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