This is the first of a series of lesson plans surrounding the topic of volcanoes. This first lesson will serve as an introduction to volcanoes. It can be tailored to students in grades four through eight. Teachers should follow the steps as listed below.
Introduce the lesson by showing students a variety of pictures of earthquakes, landslides and volcanoes. Have students select volcanoes by giving a thumbs up for an answer of yes; a thumbs down for no.
Show students a short video clip of the Mount Tongariro eruption which took place August 6, 2012. Ask students if they heard anything about this volcano during their summer vacation. If anyone did, have him/her share details. If not, share that this volcano erupted August 6, 2012 after being dormant for over a century. Ask students if they know how many years make up a century. Show a picture of Mount Tongariro before the eruption. Ask students if any of them have seen something similar in any of the movies they have watched. Someone may recognize it from the movie series, Lord of the Rings. If not, share that information with them as an interest booster.
For independent practice, discuss the parts of a volcano. First, provide each student with a sheet showing the cross-section of a volcano. Have students glue this in their science notebooks. Move around the room to ensure all students are doing this as you explain you will be identifying the parts of the volcano with them. Once all students are ready, remind them the purpose of this activity is to name the parts of a volcano and to become aware of how each part functions in the volcano. Move around the room while you are discussing the purpose of a particular segment of the volcano to ensure students are labeling their diagrams.
For guided practice, have paired students compare their notebooks to determine if both are labeled like the teacher’s diagram (which should still be on display so students can check their diagrams).
Students should define the words used to label the volcano for their homework. These definitions should be written in the student’s science notebook and be done in complete sentences. Words to be defined are crater, dike, gas, laccolith, lava, magma chamber, main vent, mantle, parasitic cone, pyroclastic layers, sedimentary rock, side vent, sill, volcanic ash, and volcano.
For closure, ask students if they can remind their classmates what was done in science class today. Call on students who have hands raised properly. Allow each student who is called upon to list one aspect of the lesson. These should include how to select volcanoes from a group of pictures; information about the Mount Tongariro eruption during the summer; how to label the cross-section of a volcano; and, the purpose of each part of the volcano.
Ask if anyone remembers what they are to do for homework. Using same procedure as before, allow one student to answer. The answer should be define words used to label the cross-section of a volcano. Definitions are to be written in the science notebook and done in complete sentences.
End the science lesson by sharing with students they will be learning how volcanoes are formed tomorrow (or next science class if on alternate block schedule).