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Magnetic Volcanoes

Create an erupting volcano! Magnets and a cookie sheet add to the reality of this 3-D project.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Using world maps, invite students to locate active volcanoes, those that erupted recently, and dormant volcanoes. Find which ones are mountains, islands, or other land forms. Challenge students to find before and after photos.
    2. Working in small groups, students research information about the earth and how volcanoes erupt. Encourage the use of appropriate vocabulary for the lesson, such as magma, layers of the earth, etc. Students organize their research into a presentation for classmates. This can take the form of a PowerPoint presentation, poster, or some other format selected by members of the group.
    3. Once student groups have shared their presentations, provide each child with a sheet of white paper and Crayola® Colored Pencils. To assess their understanding of the organization of the Earth's layers, ask students to draw and label a cross section of the earth showing its three layers.
    4. Re-organized in groups, students draw a volcanic mountain or island on white poster board. Use Crayola Washable Markers to color the mountain.
    5. Draw the lava, steam, and gas cloud on another piece of white posterboard. Use markers to color the eruption. With Crayola Scissors, cut out all parts of the volcano. Cut a slit in the top of the mountain so that the lava and gas cloud can fit into it.
    6. Students tape a small, flat magnet to the back of each volcano part. Insert the gas cloud into the volcano and attach both parts to a metal cookie sheet or tray. Place a larger magnet (groups may need more than one) on the back side of the cookie sheet behind the cloud. Groups practice moving this magnet to create the effect of a volcanic eruption.
    7. Groups members discuss the effects of living near an active volcano. What challenges would you face in such an area? Are there special precautions to take? How would an eruption effect living organisms other than humans?
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grade level text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    LA: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

    MATH: Solve problems involving measurement and estimation of intervals of time, liquid volumes, and masses of objects.

    SCI: Obtain information about the locations of a variety of Earth’s features and map the geographic patterns that emerge.

    SCI: Analyze maps and other data to determine the likelihood of geological hazards occurring in an area and evaluate the possible effects on landforms and organisms.

    SCI: Construct models, based on research, to test and refine various design solutions for reducing the impacts of geological hazards.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Students work in small groups to sketch an outline of the world, labeling all countries and bodies of water. Identify the location of all active and dormant volcanoes on the planet. Research the last time each erupted and include that information on the map.

    Students assume the role of reporters witnessing the eruption of a volcano. Members of the group compose a script that shares the witnessing of a volcanic eruption. What do you see? Smell? What damage occurs due to the eruption? What does the magma look like? How quickly is it flowing? How are people reacting? Video or audio-tape the news performance and upload the file to a classroom computer for viewing by classmates.

    Students create a 3-D model of a volcano using Crayola Model Magic. Build in a system to illustrate how an eruption occurs.


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