Teaching the Explore

Can you remember?

Pupils will explore one of the island types learned about in Explore 1 (Island formation). They will learn about the impact that volcanoes can have on the world. They will explore the impact of an eruption and why some places on the planet are more susceptible to volcanic eruptions than others. Begin the explore by asking pupils what they can remember about volcanoes.

What causes a volcanic eruption?

Ask pupils to discuss what they think causes a volcanic eruption. They should be able to draw on prior learning here if they have studied volcanoes in Years 3 and/or done the themes Catastrophe (Year 3) and Mountain High, River Low (Year 4).

Show the pupils this short video from National Geographic Kids. This can serve as a reminder of prior learning where appropriate, or as a great way to connect learning from Explore 2 (Pangaea). This video shows how volcanoes are formed.

Whilst watching the video, pupils should be encouraged to think back to Explore 2 (Pangea) and to consider where they think volcanoes are likely to be found.

Move on to find out about the structure of the earth and where lava comes from. Use the teaching slides to share the four layers of the earth. Highlight to pupils that magma is formed where the earth’s crust and/or mantle is extremely hot and highly pressurised. Explain that magma only becomes lava once it has been released through a volcano or crack in the earth’s top layer, the crust.

What is the ‘Ring of Fire’?

Share the image of the Ring of Fire with pupils and ask them to consider the following questions.

  1. Why do you think it is called the ‘Ring of Fire’?
  2. Why are so many volcanoes located here?
  3. What part do tectonic plates play in the number of volcanoes here? How? Why?

Encourage pupils to share their thoughts and highlight any prior knowledge around plate tectonics that will be explored further.

Using the teaching slides, explain what the Ring of Fire is and why there are so many volcanoes and earthquakes in the region.

Living near an active volcano: Kilauea, Hawaii

Pupils will now move on to learn about the impact of volcanic activity on people and the environment around them by looking at Hawaii; particularly, Mount Kilauea and the areas around it.

Ask pupils to locate Hawaii on a world map and discuss its location. Explain to pupils that Hawaii is a volcanic island located in the Ring of Fire. Hawaii has five volcanoes, and two of these are active.

Explain to pupils that as we learn about Hawaii and Mount Kilauea, we will be considering the following questions.

  1. How does living in a volcanic region impact upon the way people live?
  2. How does volcanic eruption affect the physical environment?

Using the teaching slides, share more about Mount Kilauea and the destruction of the towns around it. Watch ‘Kilauea: Behind the news’ This video shows imagery of a lava flow coming from Kilauea and explores the impact that it has on daily life.

Whilst watching this video, ask pupils to have the questions above in their minds, making notes on anything they see in the video that will support their answers. Discuss what they saw and heard in the clip and consider how the questions might be answered.

Main task

Ask pupils to imagine that they are a news reporter for a well-known newspaper. Set up a scenario in which their editor has sent them to the scene of a volcanic eruption. The task is to report on the impact of a volcanic eruption. Pupils should be encouraged to consider the questions and use the newspaper report to synthesise their responses.

Assess, reflect, connect

Pupils reflect on their learning by considering the following questions.

  1. Would you choose to live in a volcanic region?
  2. Why do people choose to live in volcanic regions? What are the benefits of living there?

As part of the Assess, reflect, connect discussion, teachers should highlight the key benefits of living near volcanoes: tourism, fertile land, geothermal energy, etc. This article is a useful resource for teachers to use to support subject knowledge: