A WebQuest About Volcanoes

a WebQuest for 4th grade science
by Arlene Korngold and Malorie Bratt
Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, Lakeland Central School District
Introduction | Task | Resources | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion


Your team is looking for a place to live.  The only sites available are either on an earthquake fault or near a volcano.  How will you decide where to live?  Perhaps you want to know whether earthquakes or volcanoes are more powerful or destructive.  Maybe you need to determine why earthquakes and volcanoes occur.  There will be other questions that you will need to answer along the way.


The Task

Would you rather live near an earthquake fault or near an active volcano? 
Your mission is to find information about both types of areas, and come up with a valid decision based on your findings.


Erupting volcanoes How earthquakes are formed 
Ask a Volcanologist Web Site - you can communicate with a real scientist through this site National Earthquake Information Center
Parts of a volcano  Jess and Sam's Earthquake Activities 
Volcano World   

The Process

As a group, you will be exploring many Webpages.  Some of the reading might be challenging.  Use a dictionary to help you.
Divide your team into two groups.  One group will be seismologists who will study about earthquakes.  The other group will be volcanologists who will study about volcanoes.  
The seismologists will answer the following questions in complete sentences:
    1.  What causes earthquakes?
    2.  What is the rating scale for earthquakes?  Which is the least destructive?
          Which is the most destructive?
    3.  Where was the most recent earthquake and what was its rating?  What
          damage did it cause?
    4.  Which major cities in the United States are located in earthquake zones?
    5.  How do scientists know the exact spot where an earthquake begins?
(Click here to have questions on a separate page to print out)

The volcanologists will answer the following questions in complete sentences:
    1.  What causes volcanoes to erupt?   
    2.  What are the three different types of volcanoes and give a definition of each
    3.  Are most volcanoes located near the edges or near the centers of continents?
    4.  Which major cities in the United States are located on or near active volcanoes?
    5.  Can scientists predict volcanic eruptions? 
    6.  Where was the most recent active volcano?  What damage did it cause?
(Click here to have questions on a separate page to print out)

As you are doing your research, you will come across many interesting facts that are not part of the questions.  You should include any information which will make your presentation more interesting and persuasive.
After both groups have gathered all the information that's necessary, you will need to meet with your whole team.  Share the information, and then come up with a decision on where your team would live.  You should be able to back up your decision with facts and illustrations.  Be prepared to present your information to the rest of the class. 



You will be graded as a group.  Everyone in the group must participate in the research and in the presentation.  All questions in the process section must be answered using facts from your research to back up your answers.  Neatness counts.  You must include illustrations or diagrams as part of your presentation.  Remember that this is a presentation to persuade your audience as to which area is the best place to live.  In addition to your oral presentation you will hand in your answers to the questions. Each question should be answered in a separate paragraph.  As your last paragraph,   include a conclusion based on your findings.      


When you have completed this project, you will have learned about earthquakes and volcanoes.  Based on your research, your group has decided which is the better place to live.  Now convince your audience!
Created on August 24, 1999
Based on a template from The Webquest Page