Thinking about Volcanoes
Mount St Helen’s Case Study
• Context of the
lesson: Year 8
introductory lesson
on Mount St
• Final piece of work:
Extended piece of
writing as a
Learning objectives
• To use thinking maps to understand the
processes involved in the Mount St Helen’s
• To create a case study of the eruption using
thinking maps to aid you
Mt St Helens eruption (May 1980)
Mt St Helens is located on the ‘Ring of Fire’.
Mt St Helens – causes of the eruption
Mt St Helens is located on a destructive plate boundary
where a continental plate (North American) meets an
oceanic plate (Juan de Fuca)
Juan de Fuca plate
North American plate
Using your causes and effects map – write down what the
causes of the Mount St Helen’s eruption were
Why do they happen?
A destructive plate boundary is found where a
continental plate meets an oceanic plate
The oceanic plate descends under the continental plate
because it is denser. As the plate descends it starts to
melt due to the friction caused by the movement between
the plates. This melted plate is now hot, liquid rock
(magma). The magma rises through the gaps in the
continental plate. If it reaches the surface, the liquid rock
forms a volcano
Causes of eruption – write down on your map
Mt St Helens – consequences of the eruption
Write down
the effects of
the eruption
Mt St Helens – consequences of the eruption
Using the describing maps on
the sheet write down as many
adjectives as you can
concerning the eruption of
Mount St Helens
Remember to look at
the frame of reference
Before the
The eruption
Defining in context map
• The map contains information about the
Mount St Helen’s eruption
St Helens
What happened
And finally…
• Rally-robin
• One minute think
• What have you
learned this lesson
about the eruption
of Mount St Helens?
Extended Writing
• Using the thinking maps you have created this
lesson you will take on the role of a volcanologist
• A volcanologist is someone who studies
• As a volcanologist you have to produce a report
for the volcano society regarding what happened
to cause the eruption, what happened afterwards
and what it was like during the eruption
• You may want to expand on what you include in
your report by including other appropriate thinking
What having literacy/language
skills means…
• Ability to think and learn
• Development of information
processing, reasoning, enquiry,
creative thinking, evaluation skills
• Active participation in society,
economy and culture: empowerment
Literacy across the curriculum
• Every subject needs
to focus on the
features of literacy
which are specific to
• Different subjects,
different languages,
different literacies
Towed over the line?
• A significant minority of pupils entering secondary
education on a Level 4 will be Level 4c
– a few marks into the Level as determined by the
KS2 NC tests
• Suggests therefore that there is a higher number of
Level 3 pupils than our data indicates
Learning traits of Level 3
Unable to remember previous learning
Fear of risk taking
Poor organisational skills
Poor conceptual grasp/ understanding of big ideas
Difficulty in explaining reasoning
Reluctance to self check
Easily distracted
Not good at listening, following instructions
Lacking in confidence and self esteem
Unfinished work
• Lack of perseverance
DfES 2005: Moving pupils
from Level 3 to 5
Students will…..
• Struggle with subject specific
vocabulary/organisation of text/ complex
• Be unable to use different reading strategies for
different reading purposes
• Struggle with explaining and reasoning
– Because of poor sentence construction, ideas
will come over as being very simple
• Find it difficult to make inferences and deductions
• Still be largely writing as they talk
How do thinking maps help?
• Offer students a recognised structure thereby
organisational skills
ability to follow instructions
less unfinished work
confidence and self esteem
• By using and linking together maps, students
find it easier to
– make inferences and reasoned deductions
– articulate more complex or sustained thinking
• Describing – comparing/contrasting – making a judgement

Mount St Helen’s Case Study