Teaching resources

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Using your science to understand volcanic eruptions

Inspired by research at the University of Oxford, in these lessons, students will see how the science they learn at school can be used to understand volcanoes. Students will grow crystals to understand more about igneous rock formation (KS3), think about the different types of chemical bonds (KS4), and make calculations related to pressure and depth, pressure, force and area, and Boyle’s Law (KS4).  

Volcano cartoon

KS3 (UK) ages 11-15 - Crystal Size Investigation
KS4 (UK) ages 14-16 - Chemical Compounds in Magma
KS4 (UK) ages 14-16 - Pressure Calculations
Through a simple experimental investigation, the resource encourages students to explore how formation temperature affects crystal size. Students are then directed to use their findings to explain the difference in crystal size between intrusive and extrusive igneous rocks, review bonding (KS4), and undertake calculations about pressure as applied to volcanic eruptions (KS4).
This resource uses volcanic activity as a context for engaging students with questions about bonding and structure. Students are asked a range of questions on each of the types of bonding introduced at GCSE (ionic, simple covalent, giant covalent, and metallic) and so this resource is perhaps best suited to a review lesson.
Students will use equations and make calculations related to pressure and depth, pressure, force and area, and Boyle’s Law.

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