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Grades 3-5


In this lesson and its extension opportunities, the students discover that the earth is composed of layers - the core, the mantle and the crust. They explain the process of the birth of an island. This occurs when magma explodes in the air, cools and hardens on top of the volcano and continues to build up until the top breaks the surface of the ocean water. The students make models of underwater volcanoes and create their own eruptions. They also discover that the earth is made of giant plates of rock that move slowly against each other creating volcanic activity. Prior to this investigation, the students will have studied states of matter and their properties to learn that hot liquid cools into a solid when the temperature decreases. This investigation can extend over 2-3 days.
ITV Series
The Magic School Bus #201: The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top
NOVA #2211: Hawaii - Born of Fire

Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
1. label the layers of the earth.
2. identify that the earth's crust is made of plates of rock.
3. demonstrate that the movement of the plates creates volcanic activity.
4. explain how volcanoes shape an island.
5. make a model of an underwater volcano.
6. create an eruption.
7. solve a nonroutine problem involving measurement.
8. record and interpret data on a graph.

Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS), Grade 4
Science Objectives:
#3: Communicate scientific data and information.
#4: Interpret scientific data and/or information.
#7: Draw conclusions about the pressesses and/or outcomes of scientific investigation.
#8 Relate and apply scientific and technological information to daily life.

Math Objectives:
#4: Demonstrate an understanding of
measurement concepts.
#11: Determine solution strategies and analyze or solve problems.
#12: Express or solve problems using
math representation.

NCTM Standards for Grades K-4:
Standard 4: Mathematical Connections
Standard 10: Measurement
Pre-Viewing Activity
Per student:

Per class:

Model of the Layers of the Earth Activity
Per group of 4 students:

Teacher Demonstration on Magma

Volcano Model and Eruption Activity
Per group of 4 students:

Per class:

Pre-Viewing Activities
In advance of the lesson, duplicate the Ring of Fire sheet (Attachment #1) on heavy paper for each student and cut along the plate boundaries shown as dotted lines. Place each into a small zippered plastic bag. Then begin the lesson by assessing the students' prior knowledge of volcanoes. Ask them to write and draw everything they know about volcanoes. Where are volcanoes located? Conduct a group discussion about the location and ask a student to locate the volcanoes on a large map.
Give each student a bag containing the pieces of the Ring of Fire puzzle. Ask them to put their puzzles together to discover the location of the earth's volcanoes. Choose two students to come to the front of the room and put the large puzzle together. Tell them that the earth is like a puzzle, that is it is made of large plates that connect and move against each other. Demonstrate the movement with the large puzzle pieces and ask the students to do that with their pieces. Tell them that when the plates rub against each other, heat is created, and that is the point where volcanoes form. Give each student an uncut copy of the Ring of Fire. Ask the students to trace the plate lines with a black crayon and trace the volcanoes with red.

Focus Viewing
The focus for viewing is a specific responsibility for students to focus and engage their attention while viewing. Tell students as they watch these videos, it will be their responsibility to:
1. make a model of the earth's layers
2. create a model of a volcano which actively erupts
3. explain how an island forms

Viewing Activities
BEGIN the video The Magic School Bus with the introductory music and the student says, "O.K. Hold it steady!" PAUSE after the girl says, "We need help with this thing!" Ask the class to discuss these questions: What are the students doing? What do they need help with? What did you make that looks just like what they are doing? RESUME and PAUSE at the picture of the clay volcano. Ask, "What is that structure? Why is it moving? What do you think is getting ready to erupt from the volcano?" RESUME and PAUSE right after Ms. Frizzle says, "Of course there's a piece missing." Ask, "What piece is missing? What does the missing piece represent?" RESUME and PAUSE after the students say, "The earth never changes, does it?" Ask students what they think. How does the earth change?
RESUME the video and PAUSE after Ms. Frizzle says, "The earth is changing all the time, right under your very own feet." Say, "Let's see what's under our very own feet."

Model of the Layers of the Earth Activity
Tell the students they will work in groups of four to make a model of the three main layers of the earth. They will make a small sphere of yellow clay about the size of a pea. Then they will cover it with twice the amount of red clay to make a larger sphere. Finally, they will cover that with a thin layer of blue clay. They then cut the sphere in half and discover what is under their very own feet. Explain to the students that the three layers have names and they are going to discover those now. Show a diagram of the earth's layers and ask students to label the core, mantle, and crust. Explain the three layers and their compositions. Have them draw a diagram of the layers on paper and label the layers with facts about each layer.

Teacher Demonstration on Magma
To show how magma in the mantle moves around, share the following demonstration with the class:
1. Fill a small bottle full of hot water. Then add a few drops of food coloring, but do not mix.
2. Carefully lower the jar into a jar or bowl of cold water. What happens to the water? What does the swirling water represent?

EJECT The Magic School Bus video and INSERT the NOVA video. Tell students to watch carefully at what happens to the magma when it comes to the surface of the crust. BEGIN the NOVA video at the beginning with no sound just after the narrator says, "Viewers like you" where the lava is spewing forth. You narrate the segment, saying something like, "This is the magma rising to the surface. Now it is called lava, and it has the capability of causing extensive damage." PAUSE and FAST FORWARD to the point when you see the road with the lava crossing it. Turn on the sound and resume to show the scenes of volcanic eruption.
PAUSE after Mike Rhodes says, "What's the nature of the magma supplying the volcano?" Ask, "How does a volcano work? How does it create new land?" Ask students to discuss these questions with the person next to them and to then draw a prediction picture to answer the questions. Allow time for students to discuss and then turn to class discussion to explain the pictures. RESUME the video to compare their picture with the information presented in the video.
PAUSE after the narrator says, "The Hawaiian volcanoes are different." Place a piece of laminating film on the screen and ask a student to draw a line on the screen with an audio-visual pen to show the location of the volcanoes. Say, "They seem to be in a pattern, a cluster so to speak. Why is that? Why are the volcanoes located where they are?" RESUME and PAUSE after the narrator says, "...where it erupts as lava and creates new land." REWIND to the diagram of the earth showing the hot spots and PLAY to the pause point again, this time without sound. Ask a student to narrate the story which shows new land being created in the video. PAUSE at the picture of the volcano. Ask, "What is magma? What is the difference between magma and lava?"
Tell the students that they will create a model of an underwater volcano, show how an island is formed, and then create their own eruption.

Volcano Model and Eruption Activity
The students cover their desks with newspaper. Using their clay and shoebox, each group of four students builds a model showing how an underwater volcano reaches from the ocean floor (the bottom of the shoebox) to above the water's surface (top edge of the shoebox). Ask, "Where would the crust be in your model? (below the volcano) Where would the magma come from? (pushes up between the crust pieces) What causes volcanoes to erupt?" (pressure of magma gases)
As students work on their models, take time to set up for the next viewing sequence. EJECT the NOVA video and REINSERT The Magic School Bus video and cue it toward the end with the picture of the melting magma just after the bus is going through the earth's crust and the children say, "We're melting!" When ready to start the viewing sequence, BEGIN the video. PAUSE after Ms. Frizzle says, "Anyone know what melted rock is called?" Ask students if they know what it is called. RESUME and PAUSE after Keisha says, "So there's melted rock deep under the ocean. What's it all mean?" Ask students to answer her question. RESUME and PAUSE after the boy says, "How do we get out of here?" Ask students to share their thinking. RESUME and PAUSE after Dorothy Ann says, "...a brand new island." REWIND the video to where Dorothy Ann starts explaining how an island is formed. RESUME without sound and ask a student to narrate the video this time. PAUSE after the picture of Dorothy Ann holding her fists on top of each other and her top thumb is extended upward. FAST FORWARD to the place where the bus erupts from the volcano. RESUME. STOP the video after Carlos says, "It's actually making a new island."

Post-Viewing Activities
Tell students the class will create a large scale model of a volcano. They will form the cone on a square board as a base and chicken wire for the framework of the volcano. Their task is to paper-mache the outside, let it dry, paint it, and create a volcanic eruption. In order to do that, they will need to figure out how much vinegar and baking soda is needed to cause the giant class volcano to erupt. The building of the volcano will take several days. During the construction, groups can also begin to develop their predictions for the amount of vinegar and baking soda needed by first creating an eruption using their smaller scale version, the
shoebox volcano.

The Eruption Activity
Each student group measures amounts and places the baking soda and vinegar in their shoebox volcano. On the count of three, the volcanoes erupt. The students measure the distance of their lava flows and the height of their volcano. Help the class create a graph that compares the data. The students will need this information to make predictions for the giant volcano's eruption. After the class has come to consensus on the amounts of vinegar and baking soda needed for the giant eruption, the class tries the amounts and discovers the success or failure of the attempt. Each group is responsible for justifying its thinking on how the reasonable proportions of the substances were determined. Ask students, "What do you think caused the lava to flow? How are your eruptions and real eruptions alike? How are they different?"

Action Plan
Use the Internet to get additional information from a volcanologist or invite one to visit the school and speak to the students. Have students first determine the information they want and then develop questions to ask the volcanologist that will get them that information.
Use the Internet to e-mail students in Hawaii with questions about what it is like to live on an island with active volcanoes.

The following extensions are based on the theory of multiple intelligences. According to the theory, there are many forms of intelligence. There are many ways which we know, understand and learn about our world, not just one. Additional information is available in the book Seven Ways of Teaching by David Lazear. Each category listed below represents one of the seven intelligences. The activities are designed to enable more students to feel successful with their learning.

Verbal Linguistic: Write a book titled The Birth of an Island. Research different types of volcanoes. Research volcanoes on other planets. See this lesson's list of resources for good books on these topics.
Mathematical/Logical: Collect mathematical data on volcanoes. Examples include the height of various volcanoes, intensity, age, and time of eruption. Record the data in a personal journal or on a poster size paper for group display. Many mathematical representations of data are included in books about volcanoes.
Spatial: Draw diagrams of volcanoes and label the parts. Illustrate a friend's original version of The Birth of an Island.
Bodily/Kinesthetic: Dramatize the story of the birth of an island. Groups can assign parts and pantomime
the story.
Musical: Choose your favorite music that reminds you of an eruption. Create the sounds of an eruption using things found in the classroom or using simple instruments.
Interpersonal: Design a group project about volcanoes. Present your project to the class. Pompeii was a city that was buried by volcanic ash many years ago. Is it possible that such an event could happen in the place where you live? Write a group paper to explain
your reasoning.
Intrapersonal: Write a personal journal about your life as a volcanologist. How do you spend your day? Where do you live? What do you wear? What kind of equipment do you use?

Volcanoes and Earthquakes by Martyn Bramwell
Mountains and Volcanoes by Barbara Taylor
Volcano and Earthquake, Eyewitness Books

1995-1996 National Teacher Training Institute / Austin

Master Teacher: Janice Bradley

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