Teach students about plate tectonics and how the plates interact with one another with a SORT about Plate Boundaries that is aligned with the Next Generation Science Stations for Fourth Grade. In this station, students sort whether the image and description are a convergent, divergent, or transform plate boundary. Students look over each card to determine what type of plate boundary each represents.
What is Included in the Plate Boundaries Sort Station
Included in the Sort about Plate Boundaries are:
- Reading Passage about Plate Boundaries
- Larger table-group color sorting cards
- Smaller cut and paste sort for individual students
- Differentiated questions in short answer, fill-in-the-blank, and multiple-choice formats. Worksheet and task cards are included for some options.
- Answer key
Reading Passage about Plate Boundaries
This optional reading passage builds background knowledge about convergent, divergent, and transform plate boundaries. If you have already taught students about plate boundaries, you can use this reading passage for review or skip it altogether. If students have not learned about plate boundaries, you’ll definitely want them to read it before starting the sorting activity.
Students will learn about three different plate boundaries: convergent, divergent, and transform boundaries. Students will read about each plate boundary and decide how the plate tectonics interact (whether the plates collide with, separate from, or slide against each other).
Plate Boundaries Sort for Small Groups of Students
There are two ways to do this sort. One way is in small groups where students collaboratively look at the images on the cards, read the brief description, and determine the type of plate boundary. This is a great opportunity for students to work together and have a discussion about the image or description. Easily build science vocabulary and discussion skills through this small group sorting activity.
This sort has colorful images that students analyze, as well as informative text that students can use to learn more about convergent, divergent, and transform plate boundaries.
Cut and Paste Sort
The second way to do the sort is a cut and paste option. Students can do both options: sort color option as a whole group and the cut and paste option individually. Or you can choose to have students do only one option. The cut and paste option can even be sent home for homework!
The cut and paste option is all in black and white and a worksheet format. After reading the informational passage, students look at the sort cards and then categorize them into the correct type of plate boundary.
Differentiated Responses to Meet the Needs of All Learners
Like all of our science stations, differentiated responses are available for students to demonstrate their understanding. Below is an example of the Short Answer worksheet. Fill-in-the-blanks and multiple-choice task cards are also available.
Digital and Virtual Options
All of our science stations come with digital options! The reading passage and questions are available in Google Forms. The sort is available in Google Slides. Links to the options are available in the PDF download. You get BOTH the PDF printable version and the Google Digital version.
How to Purchase the Plate Boundaries Sort Science Station
This Plate Boundary Sort Science Station can be purchased on Teachers Pay Teachers. It is sold individually and part of a whole Sorts for Fourth Grade Science Stations. Also available is a Fourth Grade NGSS Science Station BUNDLE.
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