Oct 062012

Here’s an idea for using the BBC production Deep Earth (part of the brilliant How Earth Made Us series with Professor Iain Stewart). The DVD is widely available.

The video is used to gather evidence for an essay entitled “How have Plate Tectonics shaped human history”? 

The aim of the activity is to move away from the usual disaster-led approach to the teaching of plate tectonics towards a more cerebral examination of the deadly pact between early civilisations and fault lines. It concludes by examining the role of the San Andreas fault in the economic success of California and a reminder that technology allows humans to reduce the risk, while continuing to exploit the benefits of life in the world’s danger zones.


I started with an trailer for Ice Age 4 that suggests an alternative theory for plate tectonics…

Task: We move on to watching Deep Earth. This takes around 70 minutes and students make notes at intervals.

Here’s a note taking form, instructions for the assignment and a mark scheme.