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Rover Plates

In this activity, students play a version of Red Rover to learn the three types of tectonic plate boundaries. A variation of Red Rover uses the tectonic plate boundary names as commands to change the position of the lines.

There are 3 common tectonic plate boundaries:

  • convergent (plates crash together)
  • divergent (plates move apart)
  • transform (plates slide past each other).

Objectives

  • Describe the three types of plate boundaries.

Materials

  • Per Class:
    a large area to move

Key Questions

  • What are the 3 types of tectonic plate boundaries?
  • How do the tectonic plates move at these boundaries?

What To Do

  1. Put students in two groups of equal size. The teams form two lines, facing each other and holding hands.
  2. One side starts by picking a person on the opposing team and saying “Red Rover, Red Rover, send <Sandy> right over.”
  3. Sandy then lets go of her teammates and begins a headlong rush for the other line. Her goal is to break through the line.
  • If Sandy breaks through, she chooses one person for the opposing team to join her team, and they both go back and join in their line.
  • If she fails to break through, Sandy becomes part of the other team.
  1. After each turn, the teacher calls out a boundary term:
  • Convergent — teams take a step toward each other.
  • Divergent — teams take a step away from each other.
  • Transform — each team takes a step to the right.
  1. Each team alternates calling people over until one team has all the people and is declared the winner.

Extensions

  • Explore where earthquakes happen (if they do) at the 3 types of boundaries.

Other Resources

Government of British Columbia | Master of Disaster Youth Education

Prepared BC | Earthquake and Tsunami Guide PDF

Government of British Columbia | Earthquake Preparedness and Response

Government of Canada | Natural Resources Canada |  Earthquakes Canada