The Eruptor

The Eruptor lesson plan

Natural phenomena are endlessly fascinating! Create a model of an erupting volcano and let off some steam.

  • 1.

    During an investigation into rocks and minerals, invite students to research important facts about volcanoes. How do they erupt? What was the biggest eruption ever known? What famous cities have been buried under volcanoes? Students may work in smlal groups as they gather research.

  • 2.

    Ask student groups to identify where the volcano nearest their hometown is located. Pinpoint locations of additional volcanoes, active and dormant, on a world map. Why are they often found in clusters? Find photographs of erupting volcanoes. Note that some are islands, while others are located inland.

  • 3.

    In preparing to create a model, groups will use cardboard for a base upon which to make their volcanoes. Mold Crayola® Model Magic into a mountain. Remind them to be sure to hollow out the center of the cone for the crater. Volcanoes often blow out one or more sides of the mountain when they erupt!

  • 4.

    Demonstrate how students can blend red and black Model Magic to show the hot magma and lava streaming down the volcano. Press Model Magic together to seal seams when joining pieces.

  • 5.

    Blend blue and white Model Magic to form tidal waves and water surrounding the volcano. Or create green vegetation such as forests or fields if the volcano is inland.

  • 6.

    Wisps of cotton balls can be added to the top of the volcano to resemble steam.

  • 7.

    Set aside class time for student groups to present their volcano models and demonstrate how an eruption occurs.

Standards

  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension
  • LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.
  • LA: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade level reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • MATH: Solve problems involving measurement and estimation of intervals of time, liquid volumes, and masses of objects.
  • SCI: Identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time.
  • SCI: Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features.
  • SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.
  • VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.
  • VA: Know the differences among visual characteristics and purposes of art in order to convey ideas.

Adaptations

  • Possible classroom resources include: U.S. Landforms (True Books: U.S. Regions) by Dana Reachen Rau; Introducing Landforms (Looking at Earth) by Bobbie Kalman & Kelley MacAuley; Landforms: The Ever-Changing Earth (iScience Readers: Level C) by Emily Sohn & Adam Harter
  • Students investigate what the inside of a volcano looks like. Students create a cross-section model using Crayola Model Magic or draw it with markers. Label all significant parts of the volcano.
  • Using a classroom bulletin board, students collaborate to create a scene of a volcano, illustrating both the inside and outside. Students label the various parts of the volcano and list vocabulary terms associated with volcanoes.
  • On August 26, 1883, Krakatoa erupted in Indonesia. This is currently the biggest volcanic explosion in Earth's history. What happened? What other events resulted from this eruption?