Joshua Turner

Title: PhET Crust Simulation Video

Abstract: Prior to this PhET simulation project, I will cover plate tectonics and information about the different layers of the earth. The students should show a good understanding for the concepts of plate tectonics before the project begins, or they may need some more individual attention. The plate tectonic lesson should take place the day before this project beings. The students will be set free on the PhET simulation, in the Earth’s crust program, the students will then explore the program, developing a deeper understanding for the concept of plate tectonics. The students will also create a video explaining the different concepts that we discussed in the previous days lesson. The video may be used by future classes.

Earth Science 6th grade

Standard: 3.1.c. Use or create a computer simulation for Earth's changing crust.


A: 6th grade Science students
B: Students will use the PhET simulation to gain a deeper understanding for the earths crust
C: Students will work in groups of 2
D: Students’ Video should be well articulated, allowing others to develop a deeper understanding

Objective: 6th grade science students will use the PhET simulation to make a video on the changes in Earth’s crust, working in pairs, allowing other students to gain a deeper understanding of the Earth’s crust.

21st Century Skills and Bloom’s: The students will use collaborative learning, while creating a video and exploring the PhET simulation for the Earth’s crust. The level of bloom’s I plan to reach is analize. The students should be able to understand what is going on within the simulation with the Earth’s crust. The students will also achieve all levels under analize by applying the science that they have learned about the Earth’s crust, understanding that the crust has different aspects to it, and remembering the different layers of the crust and different tectonic plates. The students will begin to use the first 21st century skill listed on the ISTE NETS page, Creativity and Innovation. The students will use models and simulation to explore complex systems and issues.

Tool: __
This tool is free, it comes from CU boulder, and it can be accessed with just an internet connection.

Lesson Details: This lesson should take about one hour. The students should demonstrate a general understanding for plate tectonics. The students will be asked some probing questions such as, what do volcanoes and earthquakes have to do with plate tectonics. The students will then be set free into their groups of two, on the PhET Earth crust simulator. The students will explore the simulator, allowing them to see how the Earth’s crust is actually working around them. The students will then develop ideas of why volcanoes and earthquakes have anything to do with plate tectonics and we will have a discussion about plate tectonics as they are finishing up on their simulator. For them to see examples, I will project my PhET simulation for anything that a student is still unsure of. The students will then create a video of the different concepts that we had discussed and post the videos to the class page.

What’s the Added Value: The added value of this technology is that you cannot recreate the things that a plate tectonic simulation would do, it would take hundreds of thousands of years to show the real examples. The students will develop a deeper understanding for the whole of the earth science unit. The use of technology is transformative because there is no other way to show the students and let them explore plate tectonics in the classroom. With the PhET simulation, the students can manipulate the different variables that make for different tectonic plate collisions. This allows the students to develop a deeper understanding for the material, leading to better retention. The video allows for other students to have easy resources to refresh the material in the their mind, and it also allows the students to show the people in their house what they have been learning about. The video can also be used by future classes as an idea to start the conversation about plate tectonics.

What I Learned: I have made lesson plans galore for other classes, but being able to find a way to integrate technology, and not have it be adaptive is quite difficult. I do see a way that technology can be completely transformative within the classroom, but we will have to take a step back from the way we were taught in school to be able to use technology effectively. The emphasis is taken off the teacher, teaching the material, and the students are now experiencing the material, allowing the students to absorb more of the material.