Continental Drift Theory Science Project Ideas

Written by dana schafer
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Continental Drift Theory Science Project Ideas
Alfred Wegener proposed the theory of "continental drift." (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Alfred Wegener proposed the theory of "continental drift" in the early 1900s. He stated that the earth once had a supercontinent called Pangaea. His theory was based on four different ideas. The first was the fit of the continents, fossil evidence, rock type and paleoclimatic history.

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Create Supercontinent Pangaea

Pangaea is the name Alfred Wegener developed to refer to the supercontinent that existed during the Mesozoic era. Wegener proposed that the continents came together, and this resulted in the formation of mountains such as the Appalachians, the Atlas and the Urals. A science fair project that could be constructed is to create a planet model of the supercontinent Pangaea and compare it to another model of our current continental configuration. Explain the time periods and what was created during Pangaea.

Plate Tectonic Map

Continental drift was one of the proposed ideas about plate tectonics. Therefore, a science fair project idea would be to create a world map with plate boundaries and try to refit the pieces back together like they were in the past, millions of years ago. Describe how each plate has moved to its current position.

Plate Tectonic Model

Create a plate tectonic model that simulates the plate motions. There are three types of plate tectonic movements, divergent, convergent and transform boundaries. Divergent boundaries occur when plates pull apart from each other. An example is the Mid-Ocean Ridges. Convergent boundaries occur when one plate slides beneath another. Transform boundaries occur when plates slide past each other. An example is the San Andreas fault in California. For a science fair project, poster boards of each type of plate tectonic movement can be formed. In addition, you can further explain how this coincides with the continental drift theory.

Rock Type in the Continental Drift Theory

Part of the continental drift theory suggests that similar rock types were found on the continents on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean. These rock types were of similar age and structure and found in both the Appalachian Mountains and mountain ranges in Scotland and Scandinavia. A science fair project can be assembled from this using rock types, explaining the rock and creating a model of mountain ranges using the rock types.

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