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Item PT007001: The earth's plates fit closely together with each plate touching all of the plates around it.

Which of the following is TRUE about earth’s plates?

  1. They are separated by oceans.
  2. They are piled on top of one another within the earth.
  3. They fit closely together with each plate touching all the plates that are next to it.
  4. They are surrounded by melted rock and do not touch each other.
Distribution of Responses
Chart showing distrubtion of responses for Item PT007001
Students Responding Correctly
Group Correct Total Percent
Overall 1686 3169 53%
  6–8 1055 2039 52%
  9–12 623 1117 56%
Primary Language

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NRC Framework
ESS2.B Most continental and ocean floor features are the result of geological activity and earthquakes along plate boundaries. The exact patterns depend on whether the plates are being pushed together to create mountains or deep ocean trenches, being pulled apart to form new ocean floor at mid-ocean ridges, or sliding past each other along surface faults.
An evidence statement for performance expectation MS-ESS2-3 says: The shapes of continents, which roughly fit together (like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle), suggest that those land masses were once joined and have since separated.