Seventh grade science students became experts on volcanoes by conducting extensive research, collaborating with peers as well as professional scientists, writing papers, and building their own model volcanoes for formal presentations. Students began intensive investigations of volcanoes around the world by learning about the landscape of these ruptures in the planet’s crust, the factors behind violent or quiet eruptions, different types of magma and geologic hazards, and how the volcano could potentially affect the lives of people living nearby.
Students were also asked to reach out to primary resources to ask questions of professional scientists conducting their own research on volcanoes. The experience provided 7th graders with the unique opportunity to engage with and learn from an expert in the field. The valuable knowledge students gained from their research was then applied to group presentations and 3-D model representations of their volcanoes. They also wrote in-depth analysis papers and performed creative volcano-themed entertainment for a guest panel. The connections made with top scientists as mentors and the fun factor of creatively expressing their knowledge was an explosive combination for these young volcanologists.