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Living with a Volcano in Your Backyard—An Educator’s Guide with Emphasis on Mount Rainier

Grades: 5 - 9 (with extensions for high school or elementary)
Length: Over 30 lessons included in PDF, each ranging approx. 20 - 50 min. Suggestions for activity sequencing included for 1, 2, 3, and 6 week courses of study.
Topics: Natural Hazards, Volcanoes, Geologic Processes, Preparedness


Chapter 1: What the Past Tells Us

This chapter provides a general overview of the volcanoes of the Cascade Range. The chapter begins with a pre-assessment activity entitled “Eruption!” and then addresses the plate tectonics responsible for Cascades volcanism. It ends with activities regarding how volcanoes work.

Chapter 2

Today’s Discoveries Unlock the Past Volcanic processes are the principal focus of Chapter 2 and are the natural progression from the Chapter 1 overview about how volcanoes work. Activities invite inquiry about volcanic processes at Cascade volcanoes and about how researchers conduct their research.

Chapter 3: Don’t be Scared—Be Prepared!

Chapter 3 contains information about volcanic hazards and suggestions for preparedness. Several activities suggest how students can appreciate the benefits of living near a Cascade volcano, and can enjoy them, most often from their own communities.

NGSS Alignment

Materials Needed:

  • Included with each lesson plan

Lesson Plan: