Musical Plates

Lesson 4: How do Volcanoes fit in the picture?

Students will plot recent volcanic activity on a world map and look for relationships between volcanoes and plate boundaries.

Students will:
  • Analyze data for meaning
  • Draw conclusions based on observations

One 45 minute class period.

  • Computers with Internet access
  • World map on which students have previously plotted the earthquakes
  • Musical Plates journal/notebook OR Student Activity 4 Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

  1. Direct students to Core Activity 4 in the Student Activities of this project.
  2. After students have gone through the lesson on their own, have a group discussion centering on the major concepts of the lesson.
    • Volcanic activity is linked to plate-tectonic processes.
    • The majority of volcanic eruptions occur along plate boundaries such as the boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American plate.
    • The majority of earthquakes coincide with regions where there are active volcanoes particularly near continental coasts and mountain systems.

Assessment Suggestions

Student Activity

The following instructions for Student Activity 4 are printed in the Student Activities section of this web site.
 How do Volcanoes fit in the picture?

  • World map that you have previously plotted the earthquakes
  • Internet access
  • 'Musical Plates' journal/notebook OR Activity 4 printable worksheet to record your answers

  1. Take out the world map that on which you previously plotted the earthquakes.
  2. Look at recent volcanic activity and add the locations of at least 5 active volcanoes to your map.
  3. From your map, can you determine whether or not volcanoes have anything to do with the plate boundaries?
  4. Do earthquakes and volcanoes often appear in the same locations?  Support your answer with an example from the map (e.g. the Etna volcano is located ...).


Copyright 2007 Stevens Institute of Technology,
Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) All Rights Reserved.