Make a Model of Sea-floor Spreading

This lesson plan gives background information, contains a glossary of terms, and step-by-step instructions for modeling seafloor spreading. The activity requires readily available materials. This activity can be done by individual students or groups of students to model the process of sea-floor spreading.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
GLE 0707.7.4
Explain how earthquakes, mountain building, volcanoes, and sea floor spreading are associated with movements of the earths major plates.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 

Helpful Hints


  • Maps of the ocean floor 
  • "This Dynamic Planet" map

For each student: 

  • 2 sheets of 8.5 x 11" binder paper (file folder cardboard could be used in place of paper to make a sturdier model) 
  • scissors 
  • ruler 
  • transparent tape 
  • masking tap 
  • colored pencils or crayons Suggestion: Make your own model ahead of time to show students before they make their models.