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

Scope & Sequence

Interdisciplinary Approach

Unit : t-Minus 3 Weeks  

Lesson 8 : Mt. Pinatubo

Basic Readings


Recommended Readings

  • Mt. Pinatubo
  • Mt. Pinatubo Eruption
  • One Year After
  • Five Years After

Homework Due

  • Article Review Questions

Students read about the volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo and its aftermath. They focus on their spheres, the effect of the eruption on their spheres, and the concept of change in nature over time.


  • 20 min. Students review Mt. Pinatubo articles
  • 20 min. Students complete ESS analysis of Mt. Pinatubo


  • 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. You may wish to point out to the students that they will be doing this and two more analyses of natural events. Add that you are looking for improvements in the analyses and descriptions as they learn more about their spheres and how to think like Earth system scientists.

Discussion of Mt. Pinatubo eruption. Students complete an Earth science analysis of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. 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

  • Complete assessment materials: Team Evaluation & ERT Log

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.