David Carmichael

Introduction | Task | Resources | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion


This lesson is designed to help you understand what volcanoes are, their make-up, and how they are classified. You will be divide up into groups of four. The role of each group is to act as a team of volcanologist. One of you is knowledgeable about volcanoes in general. The rest are each specialist with one of the three major types of volcanoes. As a team, you travel the world studying and predicting volcanic activity. The team also meets with various community groups and organizations to educate them about volcanoes. Your team is currently at the O'Farrell Community school to teach the other students in your class about the various types of volcanoes. You have brought with you a set of large posters showing examples of volcanoes and their different types in order to make a short presentation to the class and answer a few questions.

Remember each member of the team specializes in a particular type of volcano or has general overall knowledge of volcanoes. Each individual must, therefore, choose one of the four following roles:

Volcanologist #1 (Generalist)

Volcanologist #2 (Specialty - Cinder Cones)

Volcanologist #3 (Specialty - Composite Volcanoes)

Volcanologist #4 (Specialty - Shield Volcanoes)

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The Task

Each team will be required to prepare color posters describing volcanoes. Volcanologist #1 will construct a poster of a volcano that shows the major features common to all three types of volcanoes. Volcanologists #2 thru #4 will construct posters of volcanoes that they specialize in. Their posters will show the major differences their type of volcano has when compared with the general volcano model. All posters must have:

  • A title
  • The main parts of the volcano labeled.
  • List any characteristics common to a particular volcano on the poster.
  • Description of the lava and the rock material that makes up the sides of the volcano.
  • Include the Earth's crust and mantle and their role, if any, in the volcanoes formation.

The team will then present their posters to the class. Volcanologist #1 will present first followed by number two and so forth. Your team will be given a total of ten minutes to present your posters, approximately two minutes per person. Everyone must participate.

Each team member will be required to turn in a one page paper with the poster. It should describe how volcanoes in general form, for volcanologist #1. For all the other volcanologists the paper should describe how the special type of volcano chosen is formed.

Each Team should be prepared to answer the following questions and each team member must have the answer written on the back of your one page paper.

  1. Are there any active volcanoes in North and Central America? If so name one and describe where it is.
  2. Are there any active volcanoes in California? If so name one and describe where it is.
  3. Are there volcanoes nearby that might threaten the city of San Diego?
  4. Besides being burned by flowing lava or hit by flying rocks, name three other dangers or hazards of volcanoes.

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The construction paper and markers required for the posters will be supplied by your teacher.

The following Internet sites were selected to help you acquire the information needed to complete the assigned tasks. With the mouse simply click on the word color highlighted to view a site's information.

Earth Processes and Volcano Formation

The Volcano Lesson!
The Nature of Volcanoes!
Introduction to Volcanoes!
Hot Spots and Mantle Plumes!
Plate Subduction!
Parts of Volcanoes!

Types of Volcanoes:

Types of Volcanoes!
Principle Types of Volcanoes!
Classes of Volcanoes!
Types of Volcanoes!
Cinder Cones!
Types of Volcanoes 2!
Strato Volcanoes!
Composite Volcano!
Shield Volcanoes!
Shield Volcano!

Volcano Locations:

Images of Volcanoes (by region)!
Volcanoes of Other Worlds!

Photographs of Volcanoes:

Mount Saint Helen Images!
Kinds of Volcanoes!

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The Process

Please follow these steps in order to accomplish the required assignment.

  1. First you'll be placed into groups of 4 to work as the team of volcanologists.
  2. Next, as a group, you will need to decide who will be volcanologist #1, #2 and so on. Once you've picked a role to play you must report to the teacher who will be playing what role in your group. Cooperation is key in group and team activities, therefore work together. If you are unable to choose roles I will assign them and include an additional cooperative assignment.
  3. You will next need to collect data on your particular topic by researching the sites on the Internet. Be sure to take good notes. Keep track where you retrieved the information in case you need to make a return visit.
  4. After collecting your data, you and your team will need to meet and compare the information gathered. Those constructing the poster of the general volcano will need to include features and characteristics common to all three major types. Those working on specialized volcanoes will need to point out they are different from the general model.
  5. Once comparisons have been made and the various features are noted, a sheet of construction paper may be checked out by each team member along with a set of markers to share.
  6. Having acquired the needed supplies each team member is to draw their poster. It may be helpful to lightly draw it in pencil first before using the markers. Also, be sure that you have included all the required elements listed in the task section above.
  7. Write out the one page paper describing your volcano and any other notable information.
  8. Answers to questions 1 thru 4 on the back of your one page paper. Because these are questions to be answered as a group during the presentation, you may work together to answer them.
  9. Practice your presentation as a team.
  10. Present to class your findings starting with volcanologist #1 and continue in order.
  11. After the presentation, ask the audience if there are any questions and answer them appropriately.

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In order to complete this assignment you must work together with your teammates. Those that do not cooperate with each other will find the assignment more difficult with much more work to do. However, you will be given an individual grade with a portion of it based on your shared participation. If necessary, a students lack of participation will be handled on an individual bases. Your grade will be assigned as follows:

10 points Group participation and Team work.

25 points Posters (Required elements, accuracy of information, neat and legible).

25 points Written paper (Accuracy of information, neat and legible).

25 points Questions (Accuracy of information, neat and legible).

15 points Presentation (Participation, organized, loud and clear).

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A volcanologist is one who studies volcanoes. By completing this assignment each one of you have truly acquired an expertise. You know much more than most people do about volcanoes. You now have a full understanding of what volcanoes are, their make-up, and how they are classified. If you are interested in learning more, click on the site below.

Volcano World

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Last updated December 15, 1998

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