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Our Active Earth

Grades 3 - 5

Our planet might seem like it never changes, but that's hardly the case. Even in our short lifetimes, volcanoes build new islands, earthquakes tear apart the landscape, and the seafloor slowly creeps toward a new beginning. Guide students through an exciting exploration of forces within Earth wrapped up in 5E lesson plans where students investigate through active learning, then apply their new knowledge to the challenges of living on the Ring of Fire.

Leveled Readers are available in four Lexile Measures, distinguished by a color key on the back of each reader.

Lexile Levels
Lexile Measure Range 900-1050
Lexile Measure Range 750-900
Lexile Measure Range 600-750
Lexile Measure Range 450-600

Driving Question

How do processes deep inside Earth cause the landforms and movements of Earth's crust?

Anchor Phenomenon

Tectonic processes that shape Earth.

  Investigative Phenomena
–Focus Questions
Real-World Phenomena
Lesson 1
Earth's Layers
Focus Question How are the layers that make up Earth different? Real-World Phenomena
  • Interactions of Earth's layers
  • Kola Superdeep Borehole
Lesson 2
Continental and Oceanic Crust
Focus Question How are continental and oceanic crust alike and different? Real-World Phenomena
  • Landforms of continental crust and oceanic crust
Lesson 3
Tectonic Plates in Motion
Focus Question Why have the position of Earth's continents changed over time? Real-World Phenomena
  • Movement of Earth's tectonic plates
Lesson 4
Seafloor Spreading
Focus Question How do convection currents and seafloor spreading affect Earth's crust? Real-World Phenomena
  • Convection currents
  • Seafloor spreading
  • Mid-Atlantic ridge
Lesson 5
When Plates Collide
Focus Question What happens when tectonic plates collide? Real-World Phenomena
  • Subduction
  • Mountain building
Lesson 6
Focus Question How do volcanoes form and erupt? Real-World Phenomena
  • Volcanic formation and eruption
  • Lava flows
Lesson 7
Focus Question What causes earthquakes and what are their effects? Real-World Phenomena
  • Earthquake and aftershocks
  • Earthquake damage
Lesson 8
Earth's Ring of Fire
Focus Question Why are earthquakes and volcanoes common around the Pacific Rim? Real-World Phenomena
  • Location of volcanoes and earthquakes
  • Warning systems