Learning about Volcanoes

Lesson Summary:

The lesson describes and explains volcanoes.  The reading can be used as a resource for the teacher, or read by the children themselves. Pictures of a variety of volcanoes can be obtained from the internet and will help the children visualize the main features of a volcano. Activity A is an interesting experiment which gives the children some idea of how the pressure builds up inside a volcano until the gases or the magma is pushed to the surface.  Activity B requires them to graphically reinforce their understanding of the different parts of the volcano.


  • The children will understand and be able to explain how volcanoes are formed.
  • The children will be able to demonstrate their understanding by drawing a diagram of a volcano.

Subject Area:


Lesson Excerpt:

We all know what volcanoes look like – mountains which erupt sending out rivers of hot molten rock or lava which runs down the mountain side.  But have you ever wondered why some mountains form volcanoes and where all that molten rock comes from?

Before we think about the origins of volcanoes we need to realise that the typical picture of a mountain spewing red hot lava is only one kind of volcano, there are many others, for example, some volcanoes emit steam and other gases through vents in the mountain, some have lava flowing quietly from the vents and, of course, the most spectacular volcanoes, like Eyjafjallajokull (try pronouncing that!) in Iceland, erupt violently, sending clouds of rock and other debris up into the atmosphere.

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