Students explore legends people created to explain the phenomena of volcanoes -- and write their own legends about volcanoes.
ObjectivesStudents understand the scientific causes of volcanoes, demonstrate creative-writing skills, and practice the mechanics of writing.
volcano, legend, Hawaii, myth, writing
Materials Needed[shopmaterials]Online materials (or printouts of them) from Legends, Volcanoes in Historical and Popular Culture: Legends and Mythology, and other print or online legends about volcanoes
Explain to students that throughout history, humans have created stories and legends to explain natural events that they could not explain scientifically. The word volcano, for example, comes from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire. The Romans believed that Vulcan lived beneath Earth's surface and created weapons for the other gods. His actions caused volcanoes to erupt. Native Hawaiians believed that Pele, the goddess of volcanoes, caused eruptions. Many individual volcanoes are also named after legendary gods. Invite students to explore Legends About Volcanoes, Volcanoes in Historical and Popular Culture: Legends and Mythology, or other print or online sources of volcano legends. Then ask each student to write his or her own legend about how volcanoes form or why they erupt.
Evaluate students on their creative writing and mechanics and on how well their legends conform to the scientific facts about volcanoes.
Lesson Plan Source