Mid-Ocean Ridge Spreading

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In this earth science activity (page 14 of the PDF), learners use layers of closed-cell foam to create their own model of the mid-ocean ridge in order to simulate seafloor spreading. Although this was created as a post-visit activity for a workshop about earth processes, it also makes an excellent stand alone activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 14 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Shoe Box w/lid
  • Foam Core Board
  • Closed Cell Foam (camping pad type)
  • X-acto Knife
  • Permanent Markers
  • Masking Tape
  • Rubber Cement
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape
  • Colored Pencils


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Volcanoes and Plate Tectonics


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Student Workshops


  • All rights reserved, COSI Columbus, 2009