Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Common Core IRL: Multimedia resources on volcanoes (ages 9 - 12)

Volcanoes certainly grab your attention, with their enormous size, ferocious explosions and deadly force. About 1,500 volcanoes are currently active, threatening more than one billion people on Earth! But how do we help our students learn about these rumbling giants?

Today, our Common Core IRL team is uncovering a range of resources to help students learn about volcanoes. Alyson at KidLit Frenzy, Cathy and Louise at The Nonfiction Detectives, Travis at 100 Scope Notes and I have been sharing ideas all summer on the Common Core. It's certainly a hot topic!

Here at Great Kid Books, I'm investigating multimedia resources to engage students, establish important background knowledge, and help develop their listening comprehension skills.
National Geographic: Volcanoes 101 (click to open)
Forces of Nature: Volcanoes 101
National Geographic Kids website
Video (without ads on the National Geographic Kids site)
Length: 3 minutes
Grades 3 and up
With dramatic images and clear narration, this National Geographic video introduces a wide range of volcanoes. Students will be fascinated by many pictures of flowing lava, billowing gas clouds and smoking mountains. The combination of visuals and clear narration helps students acquire new vocabulary words they'll need to tackle reading about this subject.

The fast paced images will hold students' attention, although the video covers too much information too quickly for students to absorb all of it at once. In fact, it might be interesting to ask students if there are any visual features, such as titles or captions, that might help make this video a better learning tool. In any case, this video serves as an excellent introduction for students interested in learning about volcanoes.

Note that the same video is available on the National Geographic site, along with several other volcano videos; however, advertisements precede the videos on the regular site and not on the National Geographic Kids site.
BBC News: video & article (click to open)
Mexico Eruption: Volcano crater viewed from the air
BBC News, 11 July 2013
Video & news article
Length: 30 seconds
Grades 3 and up
This brief television news report provides an excellent example of how active volcanoes can affect people's lives. The Popocatepetl volcano, just east of Mexico City, had been relatively quiet for much of last year. But this July, it started spewing ash and gas, causing concern for the 50,000 people living in neighboring towns. This news report is brief and succinct, making it accessible for elementary students. For a longer follow-up article, I might suggest Fox News Latino's article Mexico's Popocatepetl Volcano Gets A Check Up, published August 1, 2013.

Common Core connections:
The Common Core State Standards explicitly call for students to listen to information presented in a variety of diverse media formats. As the authors of the CCSS write in Appendix A,
"If literacy levels are to improve, the aims of the English language arts classroom, especially in the earliest grades, must include oral language in a purposeful, systematic way, in part because it helps students master the printed word... Oral language development precedes and is the foundation for written language development; in other words, oral language is primary and written language builds on it."
As librarians, we must provide our students with engaging multimedia experiences to learn about the world around them. Even in upper elementary grades, students are able to comprehend more complex material by listening to a multimedia presentation than reading about it. It's important to help students understand this, so that when they're interested in a subject they can seek out different ways of learning about it.

These resources directly connect to the following Common Core State Standards:
CCSS SL4.2: Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
CCSS SL5.3: Summarize the points a speaker makes and explain how each claim is supported by reasons and evidence.
After watching the BBC news report, students can work in pairs to summarize the news and explain how the recent eruption is affecting local people in Mexico City. After watching the National Geographic Kids video, students might add to the class chart tracking information they are learning about volcanoes. It might be helpful to pause this longer video at a few strategic points to have students talk about terms they are hearing. Learning new academic and content vocabulary is especially important when exploring a new topic.

I have been absolutely fascinated learning about volcanoes. I know it's a bad pun, but I feel like I'm just barely scratching the surface of this topic. If students are interested in them, help them find a range of resources, starting with easier basic introductions and then building up to more complex resources. Check out these other posts from the Common Core IRL: In Real Libraries.
Many thanks to my colleagues and contributors with Common Core IRL: Alyson Beecher, Louise Capizzo, Travis Jonker and Cathy Potter. We hope to continue to bring you topics throughout the year.

©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this! My son is fascinated by volcanoes since they affect our daily life. I'd rather pretend they don't exist! So I appreciate all of these resources very much.

    BTW, this isn't in English, but our local volcano has become the most active in the world, so students can watch it on this live cam, where it erupts an average of three times a day.