Use fossil and rock evidence to reconstruct how the earth may have actually looked approximately 290 million years ago when the continent were associated to kind a supercontinent referred to as Pangea.

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Pangea Activity

Pangea examining Evidence Worksheet

MaterialsWorld mapLandmass puzzle piecesPangea Map icons handoutEngage

Show college student a current map that the world and ask castle to surname the continents. What perform you observe around the shape of the continents? several of the continents look together if they fit together favor the piece of a puzzle. Talk about how south America and also Africa may fit together. Do you think various other continents right together?

About 100 years ago, a German scientist named Alfred Wegener made the monitoring that continents fit together. This led him to suggest a new idea that the continents were once component of a single piece the land dubbed Pangea. It break-up apart millions of years ago and the continents relocated to their present position. Others had recognized the to the right of Africa and South America, yet it was Wegener that gathered various other scientific data to support his theory.

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Working in tiny groups, student will item together the supercontinent Pangea based on fossil and also rock evidence uncovered on existing day continents.

Introduce the Pangea Map Symbols. Determine the symbols and also discuss that these animals and also plants as soon as lived top top Earth.Give each team the landmass pieces and have student arrange them right into Pangea.

If students require assistance, administer these hints:

Observe continent shapes on the world map to assist them decide if any kind of appear together if they could fit together.Look for every one of the pieces with the fossil continues to be of Cynognathus and put castle together an initial (South America and Africa).Put all of the landmasses with Glossopteris and also Lystrosaurus near each other. An alert how two of the continents (Africa and also Antarctica) have the end regions that Lystrosaurus.ExplainHow go continent shape aid in deciding where to place the continents? Which 2 continents have actually the most evident fit that the coastlines?How walk the fossil and rock evidence help in deciding whereby to place the landmasses?Which fossil wake up on most of the landmasses? What does that indicate when these certain continents damaged up?Locate Florida. Come which continent was it when attached?Extend and also EvaluateHave every group describe their Pangea arrangement.

If student don’t get the “correct” answer, have them define their thought procedure and exactly how they offered the proof to come at their conclusion.

Students should know that using the shape of the continents to fit them back together is utilizing one kind of evidence. Using the presence of the same kind and period fossils is another. The existence of the exact same rock species is another kind of evidence. Ask students if they have the right to think that other species of proof to find for that could be valuable in solving their puzzle.

Have students usage Wegner’s evidence for continental Drift to create a paragraph to describe what your map shows around the earth 290 million years ago. Define how the fossil evidence helped to item the landmasses together.

There is lot information lacking from the picture. Because that example, ancient shorelines were not the very same as they room today early to transforms in sea level and the tectonic process (continents colliding and also pulling apart, resulting in rocks come be included or take it off). Researchers still dispute the fine details of paleogeographic (ancient geography) reconstruction. The is more important to have actually students grasp the ide of just how scientists look because that clues, or evidence, and also put the pieces with each other to settle a problem.


Evidence native fossilized organisms and mountain chains can be offered to rebuild the location of today’s continents and also landmasses to kind the supercontinent Pangea.

Glossopteris ferns had very heavy seed that might not relocate by wind or drift on ocean currents. Fossils have been discovered on all the southern continents – Australia, Antarctica, India, south Africa and South America.

The Mesosaurus was a reptile that stayed in fresh or brackish water and also had limbs because that swimming but was no a strong swimmer. It would not most likely have had the capability to swim throughout such a large body of water together the Atlantic Ocean.

Cynognathus to be a mammal-like reptile that live on land during the early on Triassic. It to be as big as a contemporary wolf. That fossils are found only in south Africa and also South America. Together a land-dominant species, it would certainly not have been qualified of migrating throughout the Atlantic.

Lystrosaurus was an additional mammal-like reptile that lived on land. It survived the Permian period and was leading during the early on Triassic. The anatomy argues that these pets were probably very poor swimmers.

By around 300 million year ago, a unique community of tree had developed known as the european flora. Fossils of this plants are discovered in Europe and other areas.

Scientists research rocks from mountain chains, and also the fossils found in them, to know continental drift. The such as mountain terrains of different continents enhance up.


Alfred Wegner was a German geophysicist that formulated the very first complete declare of the continental drift hypothesis. Although that was not the an initial to imply that continents have moved about the Earth, his presentation of very closely compiled proof inspired years of scientific debate. Wegener’s evidence, together with evidence provided by short article World war II technology, ultimately led to universal acceptance that the concept of continent drift.

Alfred Wegener built up diverse pieces of proof to assistance his theory, including geological “fit” and fossil evidence. Geology “fit” proof is the matching of large geological attributes on various continents. The shores of southern America and also West Africa seem to complement up. Researchers have found that rocks ~ above the east shore of south America space the very same as rocks uncovered on the west coast of Africa. This rocks are different from rocks uncovered in other locations on Earth, saying that the continents were when connected.

Plant and also animal fossils additionally reveal evidence. There are various instances of fossils discovered on different continents and also in no various other regions. This indicates that this continents were once joined together due to the fact that the extensive oceans in between these soil masses act together a barrier for fossil transfer. Instances include: Mesosaurus, Cynognathus, Lystrosaurus and also Glossopteris.

How did the continents relocate apart? The earth’s outermost layer (crust) is no one hard piece. The is broken into sections, favor a cracked egg shell. The sections are called tectonic plates and also continents are part of these large plates. The tectonic plates room floating on peak of the molten rock and also moving approximately the planet. As soon as the continents and also plates relocate it is called continental drift. Some plates move into each other, when others move away from every other. The movement of the key is responsible to the development of ocean basins, mountain ranges, volcanoes and also earthquakes.

Over the previous 100 years, researchers have ongoing to uncover evidence sustaining the idea that the earth was once one supercontinent called Pangea. Pangea formed prior to the beforehand Permian period began 290 million years ago and broke apart around 220-225 million year ago.

On Pangea, Florida was once connected to the floor mass the was to come to be Africa. When Pangaea damaged apart, Florida continued to be attached to phibìc America and drifted to its present position. Florida go not emerge as long-term dry floor until roughly 30 million year ago. Before that time, the continent shelf underneath present day Florida was still submerged under an ancient ocean.

Florida appeared when ocean water level lowered (as water became locked in the ice as the earth cooled) and also sediment ongoing to build, elevating the soil surface. The sediment was mostly from two resources 1) the build-up of marine fossils and 2) erosion washed down from the Appalachian Mountains. Over time, the lowering sea level and also rising surface developed what is now Florida.


SC.4.N.1.1 progressive questions about the organic world, use ideal reference products that support expertise to achieve information (identifying the source), command both individual and also team investigations through totally free exploration and also systematic investigations, and generate proper explanations based on those explorations.

SC.4.N.1.2 compare the observations made by different groups utilizing multiple tools and also seek reasons to describe the differences throughout groups.

SC.4.N.1.3 explain that science does not constantly follow a rigidly defined method (“the scientific method”) yet that scientific research does indicate the usage of observations and also empirical evidence.

SC.4.N.1.4 attempt reasonable answers to clinical questions and also cite evidence in support.

SC.4.N.1.5 to compare the methods and results of investigations done by various other classmates.

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SC.4.N.1.7 Recognize and also explain that researchers base their explanations top top evidence.