Take a Tectonic Vacation

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This multi-part activity from the National Parks Service blends the science of plate tectonics with the culture and history of places with dramatic geologic landscapes. Learners design an imaginary year-long trip to several tectonically active locations worldwide, investigating the significant human and rock stories of their destinations. This web page has links to educator instructions and learner handouts, including worksheets for trip planning and masters for "Tectonic Passports" and colorful passport stamps and decals. Educators can also download masters for trip journals, which learners assemble and then use to document their observations of the geology and communities they "visit" (via research). After their 'trip,' learners can also create a print, audio, or video advertisement for their favorite tectonic destination. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
1 to 2 hours

Learning Time:
1 to 4 weeks

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Tectonic passport, decals, information sheets, travel planner sheet, and travel journal (all downloadable from web site)
  • Passport stamps printed on clear, full-sheet labels (Avery #8665)
  • World map
  • Art supplies or computer to produce new decal and stamp


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


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • use keyboard
  • use mouse

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities