Bending "Rocks" Lab

Haley Hunsucker

Statement of the Problem

What will happen when we move the sponge like the plates move on the earth?


I think the sponges will slide easily across from each other but both will squish together when you use force to push them together.


Sponge, scissors, pencil, paper, ruler


Get a sponge. Take a ruler and measure the length of the sponge. Draw a line to the center, then carefully cut the sponge into two equal halves. Take your sponge and using a ruler carefully draw a line across the center of each sponge piece you cut. This line will be you fault line. Hold the sponges side by side and imagine the fault line is where the sponges touch each other. Then try to slide the sponges in opposite directions past each other, after that try pushing the sponges together. Record your observations in the results/data.


I slid the sponges in opposite vertical directions and I observed that they slid slowly, but easily. If I were to slide the sponges away from each other in opposite horizontal directions then they would slide easily and it would appear that the "rock plates" (sponges) had a crack in between them. When I pushed the sponges together at first they just squished up against each other, but then one of them popped up and started sliding over the other one.

Analysis Questions

1. What three types of plate movements are there?

-divergent, convergent and transform

2. Give three characteristics of each type of plate movement.

-Divergent plates: plates are dragged apart, they make cracks, and magma rises up between the cracks.

-Convergent plates: plates collide, the crust breaks, very destructive.

-Transform plates: plates slide against each other, makes earthquakes, the plate movement causes friction.


I accepted my hypothesis because I said the sponges would slide easily against one another, Based off of the tests I did and the analysis questions, I observed that each test I did represented a certain type of plate movement. The test where I slid the sponges in opposite vertical directions was the Transform plate movement. The test where I dragged the sponges away from each other represented the Divergent plate movement. When i pushed the sponges together it represented the Convergent plate movement.
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