Earthquakes and Volcanoes
This list consists of lesson plans, activities and ideas to support the teaching of science through the topic of Earthquakes and Volcanoes. It contains ideas for how to link science to the topic, tips on using the resources, suggestions for further use and background subject knowledge to support teachers in delivering the science objectives through this topic. Resources support the teaching of the topics: Evolution and inheritance, Earth and Space, properties and changes of materials and forces. This enables teachers to choose which aspect of science they would like to teach within the overarching topic.
Visit the primary resources for cross curricular topics webpage to access all resource lists:
Links and Resources
A great introduction to the topic of Earthquakes and Volcanoes, this video discusses how the movement of tectonic plates impacts on the Earth's crust. Children could research the types of animals that live in volcanic regions and how they are adapted to their surroundings. Certain types of shrimp, for example, have adapted to feed of the nutrients that come from hardening larvae.
Page 98 explains how to 'make' a volcano using baking powder, vinegar and red food colouring. In this reaction carbon dioxide gas is produced, so the change can be seen and can be quite dramatic!
This irreversible change is often difficult for children to understand, so you may need to demonstrate irreversible changes in a number of ways. Another way of demonstrating the formation of carbon dioxide is to put baking powder in a balloon stretched across the top of a plastic bottle containing vinegar. When the two substances mix together, the balloon will start to inflate.
If you want to make your volcano model more accurate, you could get children to research the shapes of some real-life volcanoes and build their own replicas.
Although aimed at older children, this video introduction to volcanoes includes some fantastic images of volcanoes.
Children could discuss whether or not the melting of rock is a reversible change. Children will often hold the misconception that rock cannot be melted. It is rare for children to be able to see this phenomenon.
Is There Anyone Out There is a resource which gives children the opportunity to investigate whether or not there are aliens.
On Page 29, there are two options for 'making' volcanoes on Mars. There is also a wealth of background information for teachers.
Both options allow children to consider reversible and irreversible changes. Option B, which uses chocolate, could also be linked to DT food technology objectives.
When Eyjafjallajökull errupted in 2010, the giant ash cloud produced prevented planes from flying all over Europe.
One of the reasons that planes cannot fly through ash clouds is that the ash is frozen at such a great height. Children could investigate at what height other materials freeze and why this is. They could also carry out investigations into reversible and irreversible change.