Geography KS3: Plate tectonics

A short animated film for secondary schools detailing tectonic plates, their movement and boundaries, and what this means for Earth.

It explores the location of tectonic plates across the globe and explores three different types of fault line and what can happen at each.

It investigates the features of constructive, destructive and transformational plate boundaries and provides a starting point for students to find out more about each one, relating this back to location knowledge and understanding.

Teacher Notes

This short film is an ideal tool to help students find out more about the tectonic structure of the Earth and the processes that create volcanoes and earthquakes.

It can be used to explain what causes tectonic plates to move, the impact of moving plates and how the different kinds of plate movements have different impacts.

It can be used to explain the basic principles behind tectonic plates and provide a starting point for students to carry out further research and develop their own case studies.

Points for discussion:

  • What is a plate boundary?

  • How can plate boundaries change the landscape?

  • What features are found at plate boundaries?

  • What are the three different types of plate boundary?

Suggested activities:

After watching the film, students could develop case studies about locations where the three types of plate boundary are found.

Students could investigate what life is like at each type of plate boundary and how human life has adapted to the physical environment created by the movement of these plates.

Students could work with maps and atlases to look at landforms around plate boundaries and how, for example, island chains can form as a result of tectonic activity.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching geography at KS3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 3rd and 4th Level in Scotland.

More from this series:

Primary and secondary industries
Tertiary and quaternary industries
Rapid urbanisation
Coastal flooding
River flooding
Responses to flooding