Preparing for volcanic eruptions

Preparing for volcanic eruptions

I can explain how to stay safe during a volcanic eruption.

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Preparing for volcanic eruptions

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Students learn about volcanic eruptions and how to prepare for one. They'll learn what to do if they need to evacuate and if they need to remain indoors.



Learning objective

Students will be able to identify a volcanic eruption and explain how to prepare for one.


Students are asked at the start to complete the anticipation guide. They are given a set of four true or false questions that contain information about volcanoes and volcanic eruptions. Be sure to emphasize that it does not matter if they get the answers incorrect because they're about to learn all this information about volcanoes! Start by defining what a volcano is with the class. Explain that they are vents in the Earth's surface and that they can erupt, letting out gas, rocks, lava, and ash into the air. Watch the video to give students a visual understanding of what a volcanic eruption looks like. Then ask them to answer the questions on the right with the information they just learned in the video.


Explain the 'how' and 'when' of volcanoes discussing how an eruption occurs and when this happens. Then explain the 'who' and 'where' of volcanoes by defining what volcanologists do and where most of the eruptions occur- namely by the Ring of Fire. Discuss what to do if you find yourself in a volcanic eruption by talking about what to do in case of evacuation or sheltering at home. Remind students that they should listen to local authorities, and make sure that they plan ahead. If evacuating, they should avoid low-lying areas and be prepared to evacuate by having the necessary supplies ready as an emergency kit or knowing where/what should be brought. If you end up taking shelter in your home, the most important is to protect against volcanic ash, as it can cause health problems and make breathing difficult. Secondly, you should shelter in a room above ground level without any windows. Ask students to think about why above ground level and no windows are important. Remind them that when you shelter at home, it is useful to have a radio-powered battery and/or cell phone so that you can stay in contact and reach out if needed. Have students fill in the blanks with words from the word bank.


Students are asked true/false and multiple-choice questions.


Discuss the learning goal with students and check to see if they can identify a volcano and determine what to do during a volcanic eruption. Close the lesson by returning to the anticipation guide and ask students if they want to change their answers. Review the anticipation guide as a class.

Teaching tips

If you live in a location that has a high likelihood of volcanoes or a history of volcanic eruption(s), you may choose to incorporate that into your lesson with locations or areas that students are familiar with. Since some students are very scared of natural hazards, make sure to reassure them that by following the steps given and that by being prepared they increase their survival chances in these situations.

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