Pretend you were on Kilauea in May 2018. Write a blog post about what you saw and why it happened. Draw from the article and text features.
When a volcano erupted last May, the people of Hawaii's Big Island faced violent explosions, rivers of lava, and the fear that their beautiful island could be destroyed.
Learning Objective: Students will study text features to gain a richer understanding of an article about a destructive volcanic eruption.
The vividly written, photo-packed book Volcano: The Eruption and Healing of Mount St. Helens by Patricia Lauber will bring your students back in time to another violent volcano eruption: the eruption of Mount St. Helens, in 1980. Unlike Kilauea, which is a shield volcano, Mt. St. Helens is a stratovolcano, the type known for its fiery explosions - a perfect compare-and-contrast opportunity!
National Geographic Kids has curated a collection of 12 fascinating videos that will give students a crash course in volcanoes: what they are, how they form, what effects they can have, and more.
Would your students want to be volcanologists when they grow up? Together as a class, read this DK Find Out list of amazing facts about these scientists who study volcanoes. These brave men and women face many risks as they work to keep people safe from eruptions.
More About the Story
Text features, vocabulary, figurative language, summarizing, key details, text evidence, inference, interpreting text, narrative and explanatory writing
Through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy, “Beauty and Disaster” describes the eruptions of Kilauea in spring 2018 and how they have affected the Big Island of Hawaii. On another level, the article also delves into how volcanoes affect our world more generally.
The article weaves together narrative and informational passages. It includes compare-and-contrast and cause-and-effect structures.
The article includes challenging academic and domain-specific vocabulary (e.g. magma, molten, observatory), as well as metaphors, similes, personification, and rhetorical questions.
Some background knowledge of Hawaii’s geography may be helpful, but is not required. The next mentions several different geographic locations, such as Italy and Indonesia, and references the pop singer Beyoncé.
1. Preparing to Read
Preview Text Features and Vocabulary
2. Close Reading
Read and Unpack the Text (45 minutes, activity sheet online)
Read the article as a class or play the audio version at Storyworks Online. Have students read it a second time in small groups, answering the close-reading questions. Regroup to discuss the critical-thinking questions.
3. Skill Building
Featured Skill: Text Features
Ask students to imagine that they themselves took the photos in the article. Have them rewrite each photo’s caption in their own words, explaining what was happening in the picture and how they felt when they saw it in person.
Invite students to research one of the stratovolcano eruptions mentioned in the section “A Famous Mountain.” They should then write a short essay comparing that eruption to the recent Kilauea eruption.
The article’s volcano-related terms (e.g., magma, summit) may be especially challenging for ELLs. Provide additional visual support by exploring this interactive website together.
Divide students into small groups to do a second read of the text. As they read, they should brainstorm alternative text features that would further add to their understanding of the article. Then regroup as a class to share ideas.