Mini Lesson/Activity

What are Tectonic Plates?


Students will review the NASA Space Place video, "Tectonic Forces", and answer questions about tectonic plates.

Student Directions

 Tectonic Forces | Video Length: 2:37 | 

  1. Watch the NASA Space Place video Tectonic Forces and answer the questions. Check with your instructor on how to submit answers.

    1. What is the name of the supercontinent that began to break up about 180 million years ago?
    2. What happened when the Americas and Africa drifted apart?
    3. What causes Earth's tectonic plates to move? 
    4. What happens when tectonic plates move apart at the bottom of the ocean? 
    5. Where does the creation of new oceanic crust occur?
    6. Where is old ocean floor destroyed or recycled?
    7. What happens when the seafloor is created and destroyed? 


  1. Tectonic Forces. (n.d.). NASA Space Place. Retrieved May 4, 2022, from

Teacher Note

Teachers, these mini lessons/student activities are perfect "warm up" tasks that can be used as a hook, bell ringer, exit slip, etc. They take less than a class period to complete. Learn more on the "My NASA Data What are Mini Lessons?" page.

Teachers who are interested in receiving the answer key, please complete the Teacher Key Request and Verification Form. We verify that requestors are teachers prior to sending access to the answer keys as we’ve had many students try to pass as teachers to gain access. 

Complementary Mini Lessons

Complementary Lesson Plans

Not finding what you are looking for?