Tips for guiding students through the research process:
The overarching question for this research project is How
can we plan ahead to save life and property if Mt. Baker erupts? There
are six supporting questions listed on the Questioning page.
We suggest beginning this research project by looking at all
of the supporting questions. Explain to your students that the
first two questions will be answered as a class as a way of building
background knowledge (possibly using the suggestions in the table
below). The last four questions will be answered by Safety Teams
as they work through the research process.
Below are some possibilities for building background knowledge as you answer the first two supporting questions as a class.
What are the different types of volcanoes?
It is important to begin this research project by helping your students build some background knowledge about the types of volcanoes. They will need to know the difference between shield volcanoes (such as the Hawaiian volcanoes), strato volcanoes (like Mount St. Helens and Mt. Baker, also called composite volcanoes), and cinder cones (such as Paricutin, in Mexico).
Some possibilities for teaching this content:
- Show the
Bill Nye video Volcanoes,
available from Video
& Professional Library .
(The District owns two copies,
the second is part of a two
video set titled Desert/Volcanoes.)
- Have your students visit Yahooligans' Brain Pop and watch a brief animated volcano video online. The video contains information about the three types of volcanoes. Ask students to write down two pieces of information about each type of volcano, then discuss as a class.
- Use the Types of Volcanoes Information Page to model skills for gathering information. This page contains very basic information about each type of volcano, along with one link to an example of that volcano type.
Note - the websites that are linked from the information page refer to the volcanic hazards that occurred when these three volcanoes erupted. Students may encounter some unfamiliar vocabulary, such as pyroclastic flows, debris avalanches, and ashfall. They will learn more about these hazards when they begin research with their Safety Team.
What type of volcano is Mt. Baker?
Once they understand the different types of volcanoes, students need to understand that we can learn about Mt. Baker by studying other similar geologic and geographic areas. The closest and most recent example is the eruption of Mount St. Helens.
Some possibilities for teaching this content:
- Visit Volcano World's Information Page on Mt. Baker. Identify the type of volcano, and help students make the connection with their previous learning about volcano types.
- Watch the video When the Earth Explodes, available from the Roeder video collection. It contains footage of the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption, along with recent Hawaiian volcanic eruptions. Discuss how this video can help students better predict the hazards of a possible Mt. Baker eruption.
We recommend that you divide your class into Safety Teams of 2 or 3 students. There are three basic things involved in planning for a research project, and you will need to decide how to assist your students with the planning step:
- Planning for teamwork – you will decide how to approach this with your students.
- Preparing a graphic organizer – you may choose to have your students use the graphic organizer prepared for this project, or to have them create their own.
- Selecting resources – sufficient resources have already been selected, but you may choose to have your students search for additional resources.
Students gather information about various hazards of a volcanic eruption. The Gathering page contains links to resources with basic information, and links with advanced information. It is designed to provide options for students with varying reading abilities. The basic information is contained on the Bellingham School District website, while the advanced information takes the students to live sites on the WWW.
You may also choose to have your students locate other resources.
At this point, students review the information they have gathered on volcanic hazards, and decide which hazard they will address. Teams who have difficulty explaining why they have chosen a particular hazard may need to return to Gathering. The Sorting/Sifting form will help you determine when students have completed this step. This is a checkpoint.
During this step, teams brainstorm possible safety plans that will address the hazard they selected in the previous step. Students must answer several questions on a blank sheet of paper or in a blank Word document to complete this step. This is a checkpoint.
At this point, teams stop and reflect on their work so far. The Evaluating form will help you determine when students have completed this step. This is a checkpoint. This is also a good time to prepare students for what they will be expected to do at the Reporting step.
This step has been left wide open so that you can tailor the reporting on this project to your class' needs. Some suggestions include:
- A written report or letter describing the volcanic hazard most likely to affect Bellingham, and the team's safety plan for protecting people and property. The report/letter should persuade the city planners that this Safety Plan is the best use of the money budgeted for Mt. Baker Safety.
- A drawing or model of the Safety Plan, demonstrating how it effectively protects the people and property of Bellingham from a particular volcanic hazard.
- A persuasive presentation for the city planners, teaching them about one of the volcanic hazards, and describing the Safety Plan that will protect people and property from this hazard.
- Some combination of the suggestions above.
The rubric for this project addresses the steps of the research process. You may choose to assess only some of the steps, as some are highly supported in this research project. You may also wish to create a rubric that specifically assesses the reporting form you decide upon. See other online projects in the Bellingham School District collection of online research investigations for ideas.