Introduction to Volcanoes and Tectonic Plates
Using Film Clips From Volcano
Subject: Science & Technology — Earth Science & Vulcanology;
Ages: 10 - 13: Middle School Level;
Length: Film Clips: Approximately 20 minutes of film in three clips; Lesson: two 45 - 55 minute class periods. Homework: a research assignment between the two class periods.
Excerpts from the Complete Snippet Lesson Plan
Learner Outcomes/Objectives: Students will learn about volcanoes,their likely locations, the factors that can lead to an eruption, the relation of plate tectonics to volcanic eruptions, and the kind of certainty that scientists can and cannot provide. They will become familiar with the way that volcanoes are classified and four of the important phenomena that happen before and during eruptions: heating of underground and surface water, lava flows, ash clouds, and volcanic bombs. Students will be introduced to volcanic events at: Paricutin, Mexico; Pinatube in the Philippines; and Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland.
Rationale: The unlikely event of a volcano erupting in the middle of Los Angeles and the film's mix of volcanic features will provide interest and dramatic effect to the lesson. The events of the movie are loosely based on real incidents in which a volcano suddenly surged to life in an unexpected location and when advancing lava was cooled and stopped with water. Comparison of the real events with the film will reinforce the differences between fact and fiction in movies while providing interest and context for the lesson.
Description of the Film Clips: The first clip starts with a clash between public officials reluctant to call an alarm which will disrupt the life of the city and scientists who cannot provide certainties but advise concern and action based on ambiguous warning signs.
As usually happens in movies, the feared catastrophe occurs. The second segment of the film guides the audience through a succession of dramatic renditions of events related to the sudden eruption of a new volcano. The simultaneous appearance of heated surface water, lava flows, ash clouds, and volcanic bombs in one volcanic event is unrealistic and even impossible in some aspects; still, these features do occur in different kinds of eruptions and with their own rhythm. It can be explained how and when they occur, introducing both types of eruptions, namely those more violent ones that produce steep sloped volcanic cones and those with voluminous lava flows resulting in gentle slopes.
The third clip shows the spectacular way in which a portion of the city is saved and a menacing lava flow is stopped. This is also an exaggeration, based on a real event. The historical fact can be recalled and used to explain realistic timescales of the cooling of lava and which aspects of the depicted solution would be impossible to implement in real life.
USING THE FILM CLIP IN THE CLASSROOM
1. Review the film clip and to make sure it is suitable for the class. Review the links referenced in this Guide, pick those that are appropriate for the class and the lesson, and decide how to present them to the class. Make appropriate modifications to the lesson plan.
2. Become familiar with the location of the clips on the DVD and cue it to the first clip.
Step by Step
[The remaining 15 steps in the Snippet Lesson Plan provide an introduction for each film clip, exercises to teach the class about volcanos, the origins of volcanos, the major phenomena associated with volcanoes, and the tension between scientists and government officials when a decision has to be made about evacuating a potential disaster zone.]
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The film clips selected from Volcano show the major effects of volcanos.
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