Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

*Click to open and customize your own copy of the Volcanoes Lesson Plan.

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Volcanoes, and supports the standard of analyzing how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.


Display images of different types of volcanoes, such as the ones below:


Ask students:

  • What do you observe about the two volcanoes? How are they similar and different?


  • Read the description on the Volcanoes topic page.
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Have students read one of the three Related Reading articles. Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY and ASSESS 

Students take the Volcanoes Challenge and Quiz, applying essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.


Students express what they learned about volcanoes while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs.

  • Make-a-Movie: Produce a video journal from the point of view of a geologist observing a volcanic eruption. In your movie, explain how lava changes Earth’s surface.
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map comparing and contrasting the external and internal conditions that cause a volcanic eruption. 
  • Creative Coding: Code a learning game challenging players to sort statements about volcanoes as true or false.
  • Primary Source Activity: Examine and analyze a video of a volcanic eruption. 

More to Explore

Time Zone X: Volcanoes: Place historical events in chronological order in this interactive timeline game.

Earth System Unit: Continue to build understanding around Earth’s systems with more BrainPOP topics.

Teacher Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments