Step number one in my mission to learn about geology/earthquakes/ plate tectonics was to look at the National and State curriculum documents to give me some direction and boundaries in my quest for knowledge and understanding.

The National Curriculum has the majority of coverage about this area in their Year 9 Earth and space sciences curriculum

Science / Year 9 / Science Understanding / Earth and space sciences

Content description

The theory of plate tectonics explains global patterns of geological activity and continental movement


  • recognising the major plates on a world map
  • modelling sea-floor spreading
  • relating the occurrence of earthquakes and volcanic activity to constructive and destructive plate boundaries
  • considering the role of heat energy and convection currents in the movement of tectonic plates
  • relating the extreme age and stability of a large part of the Australian continent to its plate tectonic history

Code ACSSU180

The Queensland State curriculum also has the majority of its plate tectonic earthquake stuff in Year 9

Science/ Year 9/ Knowledge and Understanding/ Earth and Beyond

Geological evidence can be interpreted to provide information about past and present eventse.g. the earth’s surface is shaped by volcanoes and earthquakes, which can be understood in terms of the theory of plate tectonics.

The Queensland state curriculum description looks less scary than the National Curriculum… destructive plate boundaries is not something I have ever heard of before… So the 5 steps above are going to shape my learning direction – and after I am confident I know about them, then I will look at related curriculum in year 9 which would provide curriculum links and what is covered in the way of plate tectonics before and after year 9.

Because I am a keen believer and follower of the constructivism, I thought I would see if I had any alternate conceptions about plate tectonics.

I found an on-line quiz  about plate tectonics on the soft  school website

1. The observation that the continents fit together like puzzle pieces, and may once have been connected, led Alfred Wegener to propose a theory in 1910 called

A: continental plowing

B: continental drift

C: wandering continents

D: shape matching of continents

2. The essence of Wegener’s idea was sound, based on some scientific observations. Which of the following supported his theory?

A: Matching fossil plant remains found on two different continents

B: Matching reptile remains found on two different continents

C: nearly identical sedimentary rock types of same age in widely separated locations

D: all of the above

3. The development of submarine warfare druing World War II created a pressing need to map the ocean floor. This actually led to research on the ocean floor that would help explain the movement of the continents. What tool was used to do this mapping?

A: underwater cameras

B: sonar surveys

C: studies of living things

D: rock sampling

4. Scientists found that the continents were moving apart from each other due to magma rising out of mid-ocean ridges, and they called this

A: sea floor spreading

B: sea floor rising

C: changing sea floor

D: underwater volcanos

5. The Earth’s continents were once connected in one giant continent called

A: Eurasia

B: Indo-Australia

C: Pangaea

D: Pacifica

6. The Earth’s crust is divided into 7 major plates, which include all of the continents. Along which two plates do we see major earthquake activity?

A: Pacific and North/South American

B: Pacific and Eurasian/Indian

C: South American and African

D: A and B both

7. Wegener’s old theory, called sea floor spreading, was found too simplistic because it did not explain how the continents would move. It was replaced by a theory called

A: plate tectonics

B: crustal forces

C: paleomagnetism

D: weather forces

8. Plate tectonics is our current theory of how the movement of continental masses relates to the movement of ocean basins. This movement explains many phenomena, such as

A: earthquakes

B: volcanoes

C: weather patterns

D: all of the above

9. Plate margins are places where much activity occurs. Earthquakes occur, for example, along convergent margins, where plates are

A: moving apart

B: sliding past each other

C: colliding

10. Volcanoes occur in similar locations to earthquakes, and are common along plate boundaries. Sixty percent of volcanoes occur surrounding the Pacific Ocean, a location called

A: “the hot zone”

B: “the Ring of Fire”

C: “the Volcano Zone”

11. Plate tectonics can also be the direct cause of forming

A: lakes

B: streams

C: mountains

D: oceans

12. Plate tectonics, or the movement of pieces of Earth’s crust, is thought to be caused by

A: volcanoes

B: earthquakes

C: convection currents in Earth’s mantle

D: hot spots

Theme :               Plate Tectonics Science Quizzes                              Result: 8/12       

Number               Actual   Your Answer(s)

Review – 1           B             B

Review – 2           D             C

Review – 3           B             B

Review – 4           A             A

Review – 5           C             D

Review – 6           D             B

Review – 7           A             A

Review – 8           D             D

Review – 9           C             B

Review – 10         B             B

Review – 11         C             C

Review – 12         C             C

hmmm… 8/12 is not great – particularly since I guessed half the ones I got right…. I will take the quiz again after I have learned something I think!!!

My next plan… what is plate tectonics exactly… and what are the major plates…