Smart Words: Volcanoes Storia Teaching Guide
- Grades: 1–2, 3–5
The book begins with the BOOM of a volcano blowing its top. Through dramatic photos and fact-packed text, young readers learn about the fiery lava, deadly ash, and gas that erupt from volcanoes. A chart and photos introduce the three main volcano types plus examples of each from around the world.
Chapter Two takes readers inside the Earth to explain the forces that cause a volcano to erupt. Graphic features such as diagrams and maps show key parts of the interior of a volcano, the Ring of Fire where tectonic plates cause volcanic action, and the hot spots under the Hawaiian Islands. Chapter Three discusses some of the worst volcano disasters in history, as well as, the work of volcanologists who study volcanoes and try to predict their eruptions.
Volcanoes is part of the Smart Words Readers series that introduces students to key science content-area vocabulary. End-of-chapter activities involve students in practicing the words, talking like a scientist, and reading engaging Smart Facts that add both fun and depth to the study of volcanoes.
Teaching the Book
Volcanoes introduces young readers to the science behind one of the most powerful and awesome forces of nature. The book provides an opportunity to teach cause-and-effect relationships in nature, as well as, key content-area vocabulary in earth science. Activities will engage students in graphing volcano statistics, reading and retelling a volcano legend, and writing a volcano FAQ.
Theme Focus: Science Nonfiction
Comprehension Focus: Cause & Effect
Language Focus: Science Content-Area Vocabulary
Get Ready to Read
True or False?
Engage interest and build background knowledge about volcanoes with the following true or false questions.
- There are over 1,500 active volcanoes in the world. True or False? (True)
- A volcano blows its top when the sun heats liquid inside it. True or False? (False)
- The Hawaiian Islands are the tips of huge underwater mountains formed by lava from volcanoes. True or False? (True)
- Parts of Hawaii have black sand beaches made up of small pieces of lava. True or False? (True)
- Scientists can always predict when a volcano will erupt. True of False? (False)
You may want to tally and record students’ answers on chart paper or the whiteboard and return to the questions after reading the book.
Preview and Predict
Have students study the cover of Volcanoes. Ask them to describe what they see and explain what they think is happening in the photo.
Science Content-Area Vocabulary
The Smart Words Readers introduce and reinforce key science content-area vocabulary. Guide students to look for definitions on the page where the words first appear and then review at the end of each chapter. Point out these features to students before they begin to read Volcanoes. Encourage students to reinforce the words’ meanings by connecting them to the photographs and other visuals on the pages.
Use Resource #1: Vocabulary Cards and distribute copies to students.
- volcano (p. 4)
- erupt (p. 4)
- lava (p. 6)
- ash (p. 8)
- gas (p. 8)
- climate (p. 9)
- crater (p. 10)
- temperature (p. 14)
- magma (p. 14)
- pressure (p. 14)
- vent (p. 14)
- tectonic plate (p. 16)
- crust (p. 16)
- hot spot (p. 18)
- disaster (p. 22)
- predict (p. 24)
- evacuate (p. 24)
- volcanologist (p. 26)
- measure (p. 26)
- observe (p. 26)
Words to Know
The Smart Word activities at the end of each chapter reinforce the meaning of the volcano-related vocabulary. Use the vocabulary resource cards to give students more practice with the words. Have students cut the pages into individual cards.
Next, ask students to respond to the “Talk Like a Scientist” prompts at the bottom of pages 12, 20, and 28. Ask each student to choose three of the vocabulary cards to use in their response and then “talk like a scientist” to the rest of the class about the prompts.
As You Read
Reading the Book
Project the book on a whiteboard or screen and read aloud pages 4 and 5 for students. Point to the text chunks as you read. Then direct students’ attention to the photo captions and discuss what the photographs show, connecting them to the text. Finally, point to the glossary box for Smart Words and explain that these are definitions for the words highlighted in yellow in the text.
Chunk the book into three reading sessions and read one chapter per session. At the end of each chapter, have students work with partners to do the Smart Word activities and read the Smart Facts together.
Big Question: Critical Thinking
Ask students to think about this question as they read and be ready to answer it when they have finished the book. Write the question on chart paper or have students write it in their reading journals. Will people ever be able to control volcanoes? Why or why not?
Cause and Effect Relationships
Explain to students that science books like Volcanoes are full of cause and effect relationships. A cause is the reason that something happens. An effect is the result of the cause. Recognizing cause and effect relationships helps readers better understand the meaning of a science text.
Use the graphic organizer on Resource #2: Cause and Effect to model for students how to identify a cause and effect relationship. Project the page on a whiteboard or pass out copies to students. Then model how to identify the cause and effect in the first paragraph about lava on page 7.
Model: The text reads: “As the lava cools, it turns from a red liquid to a black solid.” First, I’ll look for the cause. A cause is the reason something happens. So I’ll write in the Cause box: “The lava cools.” An effect is the result of the cause. So I’ll write in the Effect box: “It turns from a red liquid to a black solid.”
Next, have students identify the rest of the cause and effect relationships listed on the organizer.
After You Read
Questions to Discuss
Lead students in a discussion of these focus story elements.
1. Science Nonfiction
How do the diagrams on pages 10 and 15 help you understand volcanoes? What do they show? Is the picture more helpful than the text? (Sample answer: The diagram on page 10 shows how volcanoes become different shapes. The diagram on page 15 helps me picture in my mind the different parts of a volcano. I think the picture is more helpful than the text.)
2. Cause and Effect
Describe a cause and effect relationship in the Description of a Shield Volcano on page 10. What is the cause? What is the effect? (Sample answer: A shield volcano is so wide because thin, runny lava travels farther before it hardens. The cause is the thin runny lava that travels far. The effect is that the volcano is wide.)
3. Science Content-Area Vocabulary
All scientists observe and measure things. What is an example of another kind of scientist who observes things? (Sample answer: A meteorologist observes clouds.) What is an example of another kind of scientist who studies the environment? (Sample answer: An ecologist studies pollution in the air or water.)
Questions to Share
Encourage students to share their responses with a partner or small group.
1. Text to Self
Would you like to be a volcanologist? Why or why not? What kind of skills would you need?
2. Text to World
What other kinds of natural disasters have happened in the world? Were they more or less destructive than a volcano?
3. Text to Text
How is this book different from other science books that you have read? What features of the book do you like most?
Content Area Connections
Volcanoes in Action
Watch free educational videos of erupting volcanoes at the website WatchKnowLearn.org. Watch a video of volcanic activity on the big island of Hawaii with a park ranger narration. See a slideshow of violent volcanoes.
Introduce students to Pele, the goddess of volcanoes in Hawaiian legend. There are several picture books about the legend, including Pele and the Rivers of Fire by Michael Nordenstrom. Use the Pele story as inspiration for students to do an audio recording of a dramatic retelling of the legend. Encourage students to enhance their telling with sound effects.
For an explosive and fun science project, give students the opportunity to make a model of an underwater volcano that actually erupts. For a lesson plan on making a volcano in your classroom, visit the Scholastic website. You can also make copies of the eruption printable for students to use while they do the experiment which is found on the Scholastic website.
Encourage students to create charts and graphs based on their research of volcano statistics. For great information about volcanoes, guide students to visit the Fact Monster website. For example, they might create a graph of the top ten deadliest volcanic eruptions using statistics from this chart on the Fact Monster website.
A Volcano FAQ
Explain to students that one way to provide information about a subject is by writing a FAQ list, or frequently asked questions. The FAQ list is made up of questions that are often asked about a topic and include answers to the questions. Organize students into learning groups of four or five. Instruct each group to come up with ten to fifteen frequently asked questions about volcanoes. Guide students to use the content in Volcanoes to create the questions or generate their own questions. Instruct students to divide up the questions among their group, write the answers, and put together all their work into a group FAQ.
Don't Forget the Big Question
Give each student an opportunity to answer the big question. Encourage students to support their answers with details and evidence from the text. Tell them there is no one right answer. Will people ever be able to control volcanoes?
An Explosive e-Card!
What would it be like to visit a place where a volcano is erupting? Guide students to use their knowledge and imagination to write an e-card from the scene of an exploding volcano. Distribute copies of the Big Activity Resource: An Explosive e-Card! to each student. Direct students to write an e-card to a friend or family member. Have them choose the volcano they are reporting on from the book Volcanoes. Ask students to draw a picture for the e-card and write their message.
This Storia e-book has the following enrichments to enhance students’ comprehension of the book.
- Picture Starter
- Word Bird
- Scratch & See (2)
- Multiple Choice Text
- Word Match
- Jigsaw Puzzle
About the Author
Judith Bauer Stamper is a writer and editor of books for young readers. She has written many science readers including other titles in the Smart Words Reader series and several Magic School Bus chapter books. She lives in New Jersey near New York City with her cat Stinky.
© 2012 SI ALL RIGHTS RESERVED