Event-Based Science

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Event-Based Science meets National Science Education Standards!


Event-Based Science is a new way to teach middle school science. It is an award-winning, standards-based program in which newsworthy events establish the relevance of science topics; authentic tasks create the need-to-know more about those topics; and lively interviews, photographs, Web pages, and inquiry-based science activities create a desire to know more about those topics.

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magma earthquake ring of fire plate tectonics

Volcano!Volcano! is an Event-Based Science module about the dynamic forces that help to shape the surface of the Earth. It uses the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippine Islands to establish the context for exploring concepts related to volcanoes. The task in Volcano! places students in the roles of producers of a television show about the risks to people living at the foot of Mt. Rainier, in Washington. Students will acquire then use their knowledge of plate tectonics, lava flows, debris flows, and the Ring of Fire to assemble the seven segments that make up the show.

NSTA Recommends Volcano!

To enhance students' enjoyment of this EBS module, there is an album of photographs for students to use.

These photographs were taken at Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii, Hawaii by Event-Based Science Project staff.

(Click on this photograph to open the album.)

As with all Event-Based Science modules, much of the information that students need is provided in the pages of Volcano!. However, more information is needed. Information about current earthquakes and volcanoes will add to the authenticity of your study. Information about the area around Mt. Rainier will add to the urgency of the task.

Volcano! has two remote-sensing activities sponsored by NASA.

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Correction Alert

There is a problem with the answer key to Here Comes the Mud. On page 13 of the Teacher's Guide the estimated arrival times for the mudflows are incorrect. They should be:

  • 10 km/hr and 50 km/hr
  • Auburn 3.6 hr and .72 hr
  • Sumner 4.02 hr and .8 hr
  • Orting 4.34 hr and .86 hr

Thanks to Donna Mathews of Takoma Park Middle School , Takoma Park, MD for catching this error and providing the correct answers.


Volcano! Resources

A "pdf" file containing web sites, books, material lists, and correlations with National Science Education Standards.
Use the BACK button in your browser to return to this page.

HTML version

EBS Breaking News
Click here to use Google News to search and browse 4,500 continuously updated news sources for breaking news about worldwide volcanic activity.

Below are some World-Wide Web sites where information is available. Click on the highlighted words and be linked with sites where helpful information can be found.

Links to Volcano!-related WEB Sites

(Links are checked monthly. They were working on the date of the last update.)

  • Tracking a Volcano Piton de la Fournaise volcano is located in the Indian Ocean more than 1,000 km east of Madagascar (21.2S, 55.7E). Piton de la Fournaise typically erupts about once a year. The 2002 eruption began on Saturday, January 5, at 11 p.m. local time and stopped at 7:10 p.m. local time on Wednesday, January 16.
  • Mt. St. Helens Snow still covered the peaks of the Cascade Ranges in mid-June 1980 when the STS-111 crew photographed Mt. St. Helens from the Space Shuttle Endeavor. Mt. St Helens simulated flyby movie available from NASA . (The flyby requires QuickTime.)

Mt. St. Helens, Before the Eruption
Photo Courtesy USGS

  • Monitoring Volcanic Flow Satellite images show the area around Mount St. Helens, before and after its eruption of May 18, 1980.
  • Lahars Sweep Down the Muddy River, Mount St. Helens Within the first few minutes of the 18 May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, numerous lahars were generated on the west, south, and east flanks of the volcano. One lahar originating on the upper east side of Mount St. Helens flowed 30 km down the Muddy River into a large reservoir in less than 30 minutes. At the base of the volcano, the Muddy River lahar flowed as an unchannelized broad sheet as fast as 110 km/hour. As the lahar flowed down the Muddy River valley, its velocity slowed to an estimated 10 to 20 km/hour and its depth varied from 2 to 9 m. The photographs on this page show some of the effects of the lahar as it traveled down the river valley.
  • Update on Current Volcanoes Information about recent volcanic eruptions throughout the world. This site will help you with program segment #1.
  • How Asteroids Trigger Volcanoes A very interesting article By Robert Roy Britt, Senior Science Writer at Space.Com. Posted: 06:30 am ET, 04 February 2003.
  • Cascades Volcano Observatory Information about Mt. Rainier and other Cascade volcanoes.
  • Earth from Space A NASA collection of images that includes volcanoes as viewed from space.
  • Update on Recent Global Earthquakes Information about earthquake activity, complete with date, time, location, and magnitude. This site will also help the you with program segment #1.
  • U.S. Census Bureau Maps and population information. At this site you should search for information about Seattle, WA.
  • Volcanology Glossary & Terminology: Just about everything you could want defined regarding volcanoes. From the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
  • Volcanoes of the World: Index of volcanoes around the world.
  • Predict an Eruption Try your hand at predicting an eruption of Mount St. Helens using data collected by scientists of the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory. This presentation uses data from several eruptive episodes of Mount St. Helens in the 1980s to show the way in which a series of eruptions were accurately predicted by USGS scientists as far as 3 weeks in advance.
  • Ben Franklin & Volcanoes: Ben Franklin's paper on the relationship between volcanic eruptions and weather, was originally presented in 1784.  This copy of Franklin's original paper has been formatted to resemble the original.

Video - Volcano Eruption


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