Overview Lessons & Materials Pre Mission Prep. Mission Day Assessment Student Pages

Scope & Sequence

Interdisciplinary Approach

Unit : t-Minus 3 Weeks  

Lesson 7 : Volcanoes!

Basic Readings

  • Your Task
  • Volcanoes
  • Volcanic Dangers
  • How Volcanoes Work
  • Volcanoes and Montserrat

Recommended Readings

  • Your Task
  • Volcanoes
  • Volcanic Dangers
  • How Volcanoes Work
  • Volcanoes and Montserrat

Homework Due

  • All application materials need to be turned in and mailed to Challenger.
  • Article Review Questions.


  • The science of volcanoes. This is a two-day activity. Students begin by learning about volcanoes in general.


  • 20 min. Students review volcano articles
  • 20 min. Students investigate volcanoes in sphere groups


  • Articles
  • Mt. Pinatubo Analysis
  • Sphere Analysis worksheets


  • The science of volcanoes: plate tectonics, acid rain, hot spots, plate boundary, fault lines, land formation (erosion, weathering, constructive forces, destructive forces)
  • Vocabulary: caldera, plates, magma, crust, mantle, core, pyroclastic flows, lahars, tectonic, hot spots, plate boundary, fault lines, seismic, constructive forces and landforms, lithospheric
  • Event to sphere interactions for volcanic eruptions
  • Short- or long- term event to sphere interactions for volcanic eruptions


  • Students are able to describe the short-term and long-term impact of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption on their sphere and other spheres.
  • Students complete the two analysis worksheets.

Discussion Tips
As students discuss the event-to-sphere interactions, be sure to encourage them to also consider and write about sphere-to-sphere interactions.

Special Comments
The answers to the questions in the analysis worksheets are not specifically addressed in the readings. The students will have to infer their response based upon what they know.

This unit is a chance to capitivate students with science. The study of volcanoes is intrinisically motivating. Use as many visuals as you can. For video, you may choose to show parts of volcano-oriented popular movies such as, "Volcano" with Tommy Lee Jones, or "Dante's Peak" with Pierce Brosnan. You could show segments related to the science of volcanoes and expose some of the misconceptions the movies may convey.

If you decide to do any eruption-type activities, be sure to focus on the idea of viscosity and dissolved gases in the magma. Volcanoes are more dangerous when they do not have a chance to expel the building gases.

This is a two-day activity. Students begin by learning about volcanos in general

General information about Volcanoes-The ERTs discuss the tasks outlined in the reading "Your Task," then study volcanoes. Their goal is to learn several fundamental scientific concepts about volcanoes and to become aware of a potentially explosive situation on the island of Montserrat. Students meet in their ERTs to discuss the science of volcanoes. They each offer their sphere's perspective of the effects of the eruption They discuss how four different perspectives might give their team a big picture. Then they read and discuss the articles.

Basic Homework


Recommended Homework

  • Read Mt. Pinatubo, Mt. Pinatubo Eruption, One Year After, Five Years After
  • Complete Article Review Questions

See hands-on activities: Predicting Eruptions, Graph Mt. Pinatubo Data, Make a Seismometer. See the Careers section of the Launch Pad. There are some valuable resources here to encourage students to begin thinking about careers as technicians, engineers, programmers, specialists, and scientists. Note: To view "Extensions", select "Show All in upper right pull-down menu on student website.