Earth & Space Science: Let It Flow
The Earth's surface is constantly changing. Forces like wind, glaciers, and
water erode the surface. Forces like earthquakes and volcanoes raise the
surface of Earth and form mountains or new land. In this lesson, volcanoes
will be explored and examined.
3-2-1 Classroom Contact #13 "Too Hot to Handle"
Students will be able to:
- Describe the way volcanoes change the Earth's surface
- Construct a working scale model of a volcano, using ratios, to dramatize the
phenomenon of volcanoes creating new land
- Locate where volcanoes are likely to occur around the world
- Identify three types of volcanoes and list their characteristics
- Define volcanic vocabulary
- Evaluate information and draw conclusions as to why volcanoes occur at
- Windows on Science; Earth Science, Vol. 1, "Hitting the Hot Spots"
For each student, group, or teacher demonstration: (Pre-Viewing Activities)
- tubes of toothpaste, straight pin
- sheet for transparency
For each group: (Post-Viewing Activity)
- modeling clay, papier-mache, or sand and soil
- plastic cups (dimensions will vary according to the model)
- red food coloring
- baking soda
- tempera paint, various colors
For classroom research:
- Groliers Encyclopedia computer software
NOTE: Students will need to understand "ratios" and "scale" to
successfully complete this lesson.
- Cinder cone - smallest volcano, formed by the piling up of ash, cinders, and
- Stratovolcano - most common volcano, typically steep-sided and
- Shield volcano - largest of all volcanoes, with lava flows that spread out to
produce a mountain with broad, gentle slopes
- Crater - bowl-shaped cavity
- Eruption - to throw forth or expel lava and water
- Magma - liquid or molten rock inside the Earth
- Lava - melted rock from a volcano
- Ejecta - ash, cinders, and rock explosively erupted from a volcano.
TEACHER: What is the Earth made of? (Sand, dirt, mountains, rocks, etc.)
What do you think the center of the Earth is made of? (Answers may vary.)
Deep down under the Earth's surface, there is hot, melted rock called magma.
OBJECTIVE 5. The magma is always under pressure, and sometimes escapes,
which changes the Earth's surface. Let's imagine that a tube of toothpaste is
the Earth's surface. The toothpaste inside represents magma that is under the
ground. (Let students press the toothpaste evenly around the tube.) Now
make a tiny pinhole near the bottom of the tube. Press down near the cap to
put pressure on the toothpaste.
What happens? (Toothpaste squirts out of
the opening.) This illustrates pressure being applied to a fluid.
happens when the magma underground is under a tremendous amount of
pressure? (It builds up and eventually comes out somewhere.)
What do we
call these openings in the Earth's surface that allow magma to spill out?
Predict what becomes of the toothpaste/magma as it oozes to the
outside of the tube/Earth's surface. (It hardens.)
It is important to give the students a specific responsibility while viewing.
Knowing what they are expected to learn allows them to focus on specific
information and concepts while watching video.
TEACHER: When you
watch the video, I want you to focus on the term used to describe materials
that come out of volcanoes. Also be able to tell me the name and location of
the world's largest active volcano.
VIDEO: 3-2-1 Classroom Contact #13 "Too Hot to Handle"
START the video at the beginning.
PAUSE after the helicopter lands.
TEACHER: What is the term to describe the material that comes out of a
volcano? (Ejecta.) OBJECTIVE 5. Name the volcano that is being studied?
(Mauna Loa in Hawaii.) In this next part of the video, focus on the reason
geologists take samples of lava.
RESUME the video.
PAUSE when the helicopter is taking off.
TEACHER: Why do geologists want samples of lava? (To check from how
deep the magma came and its composition.)
What tools and equipment are
needed? (Shield, gloves, can, hammer, and canteen for water.)
What do you
feel as the red interior is exposed? (Tremendous heat is given off.)
focus on what happens to the ejecta after it reaches the Earth's surface.
RESUME the video.
PAUSE on the two students.
TEACHER: What happens to the lava and other materials reaching the
Earth's surface? (Cool and form new land.) OBJECTIVE 1. How long has this
been happening at this particular volcano? (Scientists estimate about 3,000
yrs.) How large is this volcano? (Over 30,000 ft. tall and 15 miles wide.)
TEACHER: Think about the amount of material that comes out of an
erupting volcano. How is this measured? (Accept all answers.)
In our next
segment, focus on the amount of ejecta from the two volcanoes. Also be able
to explain a cubic meter.
RESUME the video.
PAUSE as the girl readies to pop the second batch of popcorn.
TEACHER: Someone explain a cubic meter. (M x M x M.) How many cubic
meters of lava came out of Mauna Loa in a month? (220 million.)
of ejecta came out of Mt. St. Helens? (Ash.)
How much? (1 billion cubic
Next, focus on how the surface of Mt. St. Helens changed after the
RESUME the video.
PAUSE after students put the last batch of popcorn in the box.
TEACHER: How did the eruption change the surface around the volcano?
(Developed a moon-like surface.) Describe the change in the volcano. (A
huge crater formed.) Now focus on how much ash was ejected from the
RESUME the video.
PAUSE after the amount is given.
TEACHER: How much ash did scientists determine came out of Mt. St.
Helens? (1 billion cubic meters.) What was this equal to? (Enough to go
around the world 20 times.)
TEACHER: Scientists classify volcanoes into three main types: cinder cones,
shield volcanoes, and stratovolcanoes, which are "composite" volcanoes.
Let's take a look at examples of these three different kinds of volcanoes. Be
able to give us information about each of the three types of volcanoes we
LASERDISC: Windows on Science; Earth Science, Vol. 1, "Hitting the Hot
Teacher INSERTS the laserdisc, locates Frame 23660 and STARTS.
"Cinder cones are the smallest type of volcano and are formed by the piling
up of ash, cinders, and rocks, all of which are called pyroclastic material. The
material forms a symmetrical, steep-sided cone around the vent of the
volcano. An example of a cinder cone is Sunset Crater, near Flagstaff,
Arizona." Teacher checks information from the students.
Teacher locates Frame 23625 and STARTS.
"Shield volcanoes are built by the accumulation of very fluid lava flows that
spread out to produce a mountain with broad, gentle slopes. These are the
largest of all volcanoes. Mauna Loa in Hawaii is an example of an active
shield volcano." Teacher checks information from the students.
Teacher locates Frame 23622 and STARTS.
"A stratovolcano or composite volcano is the most common type of volcano
on Earth. It is (frame 23669) built up of lava flows interlayered with
pyroclastic material to form a steep-sided and symmetrical cone shape. There
are several in North America; Mount Saint Helens, Mount Ranier and
Mount Shasta are a few examples." OBJECTIVE 4. Teacher checks
information from the students.
TEACHER: We're going to find where these volcanoes appear. Here is a list
of volcanoes with their latitude and longitude measurements.
(The teacher tapes a plain transparency on the monitor and labels longitude
and latitude markings of the world.) Someone should come up to the
monitor (Frame 18404) and plot the location of one of the volcanoes by
longitude and latitude. (Students take turns locating on the transparency as
many volcanoes as possible.) Now let's check our answers. (Frame 18406
gives the answers.)
What is the "ring of fire"? (Accept all answers.)
Teacher locates and plays Frame 17994 to show the "ring of fire" in
comparison with the Earth's major geological plates.
theorize why volcanoes occur where they do. (Accept all logical theories.)
OBJECTIVES 3 & 6. To better understand the composition and activity of
volcanoes, we're going to build one and see what develops.
The teacher may choose groups or have students choose their own groups. A
variety of materials must be available to the students. The common eruption
material will be the vinegar and soda.
TEACHER: Each group will choose a paticular volcano to model. Find a
volcano to model on the computer using the New Grolier Multimedia
Encyclopedia CD. Gather information about your choice of volcano, such as
the size, location, and any other needed information for your project. Build
your models to scale. For example: Mauna Loa in Hawaii is about 13,680 ft.
high, 75 miles long, and 65 miles wide. You are to build a model with the
ratio of 2 in.: 1,000 ft. OBJECTIVE 2.
TEACHER: The materials you may choose are papier-mache, sand and dirt,
paper, or any other material. Be sure to check with me beforehand to get
materials and the OK to begin. I will need to see your information and the
ratios you will use.
When the models are completed, the students are to plan and present a
demonstration for the class giving brief information on their volcano.
- Write letters to the U. S. Department of the Interior to get information on
- Plan and take a field trip to Sunset Crater in Flagstaff or another, local
- Plan and take a field trip to an I-Max theater to watch "Ring of Fire."
Use the Internet to find resources and information on volcanoes around the
- Contact local universities' geology departments for more information.
Master Teacher: Devon Huston
Lesson Plan Database
Thirteen Ed Online