Pedagogy in Action > Library > Role Playing > Role-Playing Scenarios > Distribution of Active Volcanoes Exercise

Distribution of Active Volcanoes Exercise

Teaching materials by John C. Butler - Starting Point page by R. Teed (SERC).
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

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This page first made public: Aug 10, 2006

This material was originally created for Starting Point:Introductory Geology
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.


This worksheet is intended to direct students working independently in a 6-week volcano exercise within an online geology course. The exercise consists of a series of questions plus helpful links and a map. The students collect and plot data, then interpret the results and answer questions about the geologic causes and the human effects of volcanic eruption. The exercise includes role-playing (individual) and a virtual field trip.

Learning Goals

The purpose of this unit is to:

Context for Use

This exercise is part of an online course, but could make for a good series of homework assignments or in-class projects for a face-to-face class. There are eight questions, ranging from a simple definition to a two-page paper.

Description and Teaching Materials

The Distribution of Active Volcanoes Exercise (more info) includes a map of plate boundaries the students will need to print out. Different-color markers and computers with Internet connections will be needed for various questions.

Teaching Notes and Tips

This exercise includes an individual role-playing project: question 7, a newspaper article about funding a convention center in an area with serious volcanic hazards.


All of the questions involve written answers and were intended to assess inquiry activities.

References and Resources

Interactive approaches to role-playing that involve volcanoes are:

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