Evidence for
Plate Tectonics (6-8)
Volcanoes as evidence: Lesson sequence
Getting started Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3
Description Activity 1 Activity 2 Activity 3 Activity 4 Homework Assessments Reference
Activity 4: Volcanoes and plate boundaries
Rationale Students will discover the relationship between the type of volcano and the type of plate boundary.

Students may review plate boundary types by looking in their textbook, looking online, and /or doing the Snack Tectonics activity.

Students will use the Volcanoes: Can We Predict Volcanic Eruptions? Dynamic Earth site. This site explains how the type of volcanic eruption can be related to the type of plate boundary where it is found.

1. Students go to Dynamic Earth web site and read about why volcanoes erupt in different ways and about separating plates, colliding plates, and hot spots.

2. Students continue by clicking at the bottom of the page where it says [Read More About DYNAMIC EARTH], which tells more about eruptions at separating versus colliding plates.

3. Students then scroll back to the top of the page and click on the seismograph icon labeled “EARTH’S PLATES”, which takes students to a page where they use clues about volcanoes to find out where they are located. Students are given “case studies” of four different volcanoes and are asked to determine where the volcanoes are located based on descriptions of their eruption type, shape, etc.

4. Students will write a summary of what they have found out about the four particular volcanoes presented in the volcanic case studies.


Dynamic Earth web site, with included links.


Computer lab with internet access or one computer with access and/or a computer projector or a video monitor.

Teacher preparation

Make arrangements for computer lab and/or computer with projector or monitor

Ideas on closing the lesson (synthesis) Students can create a wall chart that illustrates the connection between volcano type, location, and the nature of eruption (i.e., booming vs. fizzling).