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Science Experiment: Oreo Tectonics

Oreo Tectonics

Have you ever noticed that South America and Africa fit together like puzzle pieces? Paleontologists and Geologists noticed that similar fossils are found across these continents.

Where do we find earthquakes and volcanoes? Are there any patterns? Earthquakes and volcanoes tend to occur in the same place around plate boundaries.

How fast do you think these plates move? They move about 0 to 150mm annually depending on the boundary. On average, they move about as fast as your fingernails grow.

What are some ways that the plates could move relative to each other? Come together, move apart, slide past.

What are some examples of this? Oceans, Mountains, Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Fault Lines.

Divergent Boundary: Moving apart. The Atlantic Ocean is a good example, the ocean is getting wider & new crust is created.

Convergent Boundary: Coming together. Continental vs Continental= mountains ex. Himalayas or Appalachian (Continental vs Ocean= ocean sinks creating “Convergent Subduction Zone” ex. Deep Ocean Trench, earthquakes (because it could catch), volcanoes (because the mantle is hot))

Transform Boundary: Slide Past ex. San Andreas Fault in CA producing earthquakes.


Learn more about tectonic plates and how they shift and move below!

You will need: Oreos, Plates, Globe/Map

  1. Explain the activity first and make sure that it is clear that Oreo’s cannot be eaten until told
  2. Pass out Oreo’s (3 per person) and ask everyone to carefully pull off one cookie from each Oreo
  3. The cookies without frosting should be carefully broken in half
  4. Talk about continents fitting together & earthquakes and volcanoes.
  5. First make a divergent boundary, then two types of convergent boundaries, and last the transform boundary
  6. Before eating, ask if campers know where any of these boundaries are… Mid Atlantic Ridge, Ring of Fire, San Andreas Fault
  7. As you go through these examples, campers can eat the appropriate Oreo