Continental Drift Explaining Victorian land forms

Course Access: Lifetime
Course Overview

STEMLinc Video Conference: There are many prominent land forms in Victoria that are familiar to anyone living in or travelling between major population centres.  How old are they, and how were they formed?  Answering this basic question leads to an exploration of continental drift and volcanism, both of which play a major role in the shaping of Victoria.  In this program, students piece together the clues that form the modern theory continental drift, and conduct an experiment that illustrates the different types of volcanoes.  Let Professor Noah Lott engage your students in the science of sudden geological change and how it affects the earth’s surface.  Students will discover the science of volcanoes and explore how liquids and gasses behave in different ways .

 Year Level: 5 – 6

 Duration: 1 hour

STEM in a box:

A STEM in a Box kit will be sent to schools when the video conference is delivered to students in the classroom.  The kit contains all the equipment required for 6 groups of 4 students to conduct two activities.  This includes a cut-out continental drift jigsaw, and a “flat-pack” volcano with lava mixtures.

For the Learn-from-Home version, the paper jigsaw is replaced with a web-based electronic version, and the volcano experiment is a demonstration by the presenter, with suggestions for a try-at-home activity.

 Background Information:

While seemingly timeless, some of Victoria’s prominent landforms were formed after the arrival of indigenous people.  Evidence of the latter includes Dreamtime stories of the Bullen that roared, mountains of fire, and the discovery of stone tools buried under lava flows, along with modern radiometric dating techniques.  This tells us that over long periods of time, Earth is a dynamic and changing place.  Alfred Wegener in 1912 describes the Earths outer layer, the crust, as being made up of giant ‘plates’ that drift apart and together over millions of years.

 Prior Knowledge:

There is no prior knowledge required for this program.

Learning Intentions:

In this program students will:

  • Learn that Victoria was shaped over a long period of time by many geological events, and that the process is ongoing today.
  • Understand how geological evidence leads to the theory of continental drift.


In this program students will:

  • Piece together the clues that lead to the theory of continental drift, in the form of a jigsaw.
  • Conduct a controlled experiment to explore the difference between stratovolcanoes and shield volcanoes.

Victorian Curriculum:

Science – Earth and space sciences

  • Sudden geological changes or extreme weather conditions can affect Earth’s surface(VCSSU079)

Science – Analysing and evaluating

  • Compare data with predictions and use as evidence in developing explanations(VCSIS086)

Science – Communicating

  • Communicate ideas and processes using evidence to develop explanations of events and phenomena and to identify simple cause-and-effect relationships (VCSIS088)

Capabilities – Reasoning

  • Consider the importance of giving reasons and evidence and how the strength of these can be evaluated (VCCCTR025)

IMPORTANT:  Cancellation Policy

  1. When you book you will receive an automated message from Eventbrite.  Save this carefully please.
  2. Any cancellations need to be received in time for STEMLinc to re-sell your tickets to other teachers.
  3. Please use the Eventbrite confirmation email to facilitate any cancellation of your booking.  That will automatically release your ticket for re-sale on our system.

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