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Volcanism in the Solar System: Hot Stuff!
Organizations & Clubs

If you offer children's programs in informal learning environments such as libraries, planetariums, science centers, astronomy clubs, and scout troops, the following programming ideas and activities are tailored just for you!

Children often find volcanoes exciting, and this topic naturally blends with the features on terrestrial planets and moons. Programs about volcanism can take advantage of a variety of resources, such as videos, books, posters, and local speakers. Consider hosting an event for your program that explores volcanic bodies in our solar system -- Mercury, the Moon, Mars, Venus, and the moons of Jupiter through the activities below. Bring a portable planetarium, or have an evening telescope observing session at your location to observe volcanic lava flows on the Moon (the dark basalt filling in the circular basins).

You can find eager and willing local speakers by contacting local astronomical societies, planetariums and museums, local scientists (astronomy and geology departments at nearby universities are a good place to start), and NASA Solar System Ambassadors -- ask them to join your events and share their experiences or resources with the children.

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


Activity Description
Making and Mapping a Volcano While this activity was written for older students, it can be used with younger elementary students without the emphasis on statigraphy. 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.
Puzzling Patterns -- Where Does Volcanism Occur? Children compare volcano maps of Earth and Mars and identify patterns, similarities and differences in this 30 minute activity.
The Icing on the Plate -- Why are the Volcanos on Mars so Tall? The Icing on the Plate is a 20 to 30 minute activity in which children create models with cake icing to compare the volcanoes formed on planets with stationary surfaces and planets with moving plates. Children will gain an understanding of why volcanoes on Mars are so large compared to those on Earth, and what the patterns of Earth's volcanoes tell us.
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Last Updated: 12 Sep 2014