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Jello Tectonic Plates for Learning Geoscience

, , , , National Institute of Education, Singapore

Global Learn, in Melbourne, Australia ISBN 978-1-880094-85-3 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)


This paper introduces a hands-on method for students to simulate the action of tectonic plates and volcanoes with gelatin, or Jello. The authors survey existing demonstrations of volcanoes and describe their affordances and limitations. They describe the Jello activity and outline its potential affordances, then detail its use in a Singapore secondary school geography class. Based on the analysis of observation notes and video transcriptions, the authors discuss how Jello plate tectonics could provide students with a common experience for observation and conversation of earth science processes, and how it potentially enhances their conceptual understanding. This paper outlines the limitations of this classroom activity and suggests improvements for future deployments.


Ruffolo, L., Kim, B., Kim, M.S. & Lee, J.W.Y. (2011). Jello Tectonic Plates for Learning Geoscience. In S. Barton, J. Hedberg & K. Suzuki (Eds.), Proceedings of Global Learn Asia Pacific 2011--Global Conference on Learning and Technology (pp. 1538-1547). Melbourne, Australia: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved April 21, 2019 from .