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Elementary Natural Hazards

Teaching Resources for Elementary School – Natural Hazards

Exploring hot spot volcanism and a mysterious lake at the summit of Kīlauea using models, USGS data, and Hawaiian moʻolelo - This lesson introduces hot spot volcanism, the mysterious appearance of a lake in the summit of Kilauea, basic graphing skills using USGS data, and a STEAM component tied to native Hawaiian culture. This lesson is intended for elementary school grades 4-5, is aligned to NGSS standards, and can be adapted for older grades.

Bigger Faults Make Bigger Earthquakes- Activity
Use string or rope to demonstrate relationships between the length of a fault and the earthquakes that occur along it.

Earthquake Preparedness- Background Information
The key to earthquake safety is to be prepared and know what to expect. Use the many resources at this site to teach students how to react when an earthquake occurs. The Great Shakeout Drills website has classroom materials targeted to specific states.

Plate Tectonics- Activity
These lessons are based on Alfred Wegener's pioneering studies that demonstrated that the scattered distribution of certain fossil plants and animals on present–day, widely separated continents would form coherent patterns if the continents are rejoined as the pre–existing supercontinent Gondwanaland. 

Cascade Volcano Resources for Educators- Background Information
A list of resources that are mostly specific to the Cascades, but could be applied to other volcanic areas.

Map of Current Volcano Activity- Map
The newly revised USGS Volcano Hazards Web site now includes a real-time status map of volcanoes, Quick Links to popular volcano information, and an expanded Resource Page for Educators!

Volcano Photos and Webcams
View and download free photos of volcanoes in the United States.

Photo Glossary of Volcano Terms- Photos
Brief descriptions and illustrative photographs of over 60 volcano terms.

Living with a Volcano in your Backyard- Activities
Activities address volcanic processes and hazards, community safety, and the impact of volcanoes on our culture and history. These are structured around (but are not limited to!) the Cascade Range volcanoes.

Eruptions in the Cascade Range During the Past 4,000 Years- Background Information
Download a pdf file of this 20 inch x 24 inch poster showing a timeline of eruptions in the Cascade Range.

Mount St. Helens Eruption - 30th Anniversary- Background Information
On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens Volcano exploded violently, causing the worst volcanic disaster in the history of the U.S. Watch a fascinating video in which USGS scientists recount their experiences during the eruption, and see how the eruption has triggered a growth in volcano science and volcano monitoring. 

Caldera Demonstration Model- Video
What is a caldera and how does it form? In this video, a USGS scientist performs a simple demonstration using flour, a balloon, and bicycle pump that can be also used in the classroom. Explore more USGS information about calderas here.

Earthquakes for Kids!

Earthquakes for Kids!

Educational Lectures about Mt. St. Helens and Volcano Monitoring

Educational Lectures about Mt. St. Helens and Volcano Monitoring