National Aeronautics and Space Administration Logo
Follow this link to skip to the main content
YSS Logo
YSS Logo
YSS Logo
NASA Banner
Return to Solar System Exploration
TOPICS
  Educational Resources Background Featured Missions Solar System Explorers
   Overview   News   Classrooms   Organizations & Clubs 

Volcanism in the Solar System: Hot Stuff!
Classrooms


Students are often curious about volcanoes and about the structure of the Earth. Keep their interest with hands-on activities and by examining visual data. Older students may be able to apply their deepening understanding to observations of volcanism on other planets and moons.

Be sure to submit photographs, artwork, music, or words of students enjoying these activities to Share Your Stories.

Activities

Grades K-4
Students will be enthused to participate in hands-on activities about volcanoes! Educators should take care to avoid addressing aspects of this topic in depth with this age group. Instead, students may wish to explore the parts of a volcano, and basic concepts of scale and how a volcano grows with numerous eruptions. (Science Education Standards)

Activity Description
Play-Doh Venus Volcanoes This simple activity for young elementary students is based on the Middle School activity Making and Mapping a Volcano. After having vinegar/baking soda eruptions, students use Play-Doh to mark where the lava flowed.
Summit Up -- Comparing Volcanoes on Mars and Earth Summit Up is a 20 minute activity in which children make paper models to scale of the tallest volcanic mountains on Earth and Mars and discover a big difference between volcanoes on these two planets.


Grades 5-8
Students in this age group often study the different types of volcanism and some of the classifications of igneous rocks. For the older middle school students, these subjects may make more sense if the topic integrates plate tectonics. Once students understand these relationships, they should be able to apply this knowledge to other planets. (Science Education Standards)

Activity Description
Making and Mapping a Volcano (PDF, 757 KB) After each of a series of vinegar/baking soda eruptions, students use Play-Doh to mark where the lava flowed. In teams they examine the stratigraphy and map the flows.
Cake Batter Lava Students use cake batter to understand how different lavas flow and the structures that are created.
Discovering Plate Boundaries This data-rich exercise to help students discover the processes that occur at plate tectonic boundaries is built around four global data maps: 1) Earthquake location and depth, 2) Location of recent volcanic activity, 3) Seafloor Age, and 4) Topography and Bathymetry. Alternative versions of the activity can concentrate on examining just the volcanic data and comparing the locations of volcanoes composed primarily of basalt to those of andesite and rhyolite, relative to plate boundaries.


Grades 9-14
These grades should have a deeper understanding of volcanism and of plate tectonics; the students can use visual data, such as topography maps, of Earth and other planets to compare the types of volcanism present and search for evidence of plate tectonics. (Science Education Standards)
Activity Description
Discovering Plate Boundaries This data rich exercise to help students discover the processes that occur at plate tectonic boundaries is built around four global data maps: 1) Earthquake location and depth, 2) Location of recent volcanic activity, 3) Seafloor Age, and 4) Topography and Bathymetry. Alternative versions of the activity can concentrate on examining just the volcanic data and comparing the locations of volcanoes composed primarily of basalt to those of andesite and rhyolite, relative to plate boundaries.
Gelatin Volcanos Jell-O is used to explore how lava flows in a volcano.
Using MY NASA DATA to Determine Volcanic Activity Students use NASA satellite data of optical depth as a tool to determine volcanic activity on Reunion Island during 2000-2001.
DPS Slide Set: Venus May Have Active Volcanism (Power Point, 433 KB) This four-slide Powerpoint by the Division of Planetary Science includes basic information for college-level introductory courses.
DPS Slide Set: Volcanoes on Mercury This four-slide Powerpoint by the Division of Planetary Science includes basic information for college-level introductory courses.
Volcanos are a Blast: Working with Simple Equations Students examine the famous Krakatoa explosion, asteroid impacts on the Moon and geysers on Enceladus using three equations that describe the height of the plume and initial velocity to answer questions about the speed of the debris and terminal height.
All Topics
Back to YSS Home
Featured YSS Resource: Solar System Lithograph Set Featured YSS Resource: Solar System Exploration Website Featured YSS Resource: Night Sky Network Go StarGaze iPhone App - FREE!
Awards and Recognition   Solar System Exploration Roadmap   Contact Us   Site Map   Print This Page
NASA Official: Kristen Erickson
Advisory: Dr. James Green, Director of Planetary Science
Outreach Manager: Alice Wessen
Curator/Editor: Phil Davis
Science Writer: Autumn Burdick
Producer: Greg Baerg
Webmaster: David Martin
> NASA Science Mission Directorate
> Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
> Equal Employment Opportunity Data
   Posted Pursuant to the No Fear Act
> Information-Dissemination Policies and Inventories
> Freedom of Information Act
> Privacy Policy & Important Notices
> Inspector General Hotline
> Office of the Inspector General
> NASA Communications Policy
> USA.gov
> ExpectMore.gov
> NASA Advisory Council
> Open Government at NASA
Last Updated: 12 Sep 2014