GETSI Teaching Materials >Monitoring Volcanoes and Communicating Risks
GETSI's Earth-focused Modules for Undergraduate Classroom and Field Courses
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This module is part of a growing collection of classroom-tested materials developed by GETSI. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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Summary

Volcanoes garner fascination and fear with students and the general population. In this module, students will examine real data, geodetic and other ways of monitoring for three different styles of volcanoes at Hawai'i, Mount St. Helens and Yellowstone in order to better forecast for volcanic eruptions and assess risks for surrounding communities based on different volcanic properties. This also includes students examining data from all stages of USGS alert levels from Normal to Warning. The impact of volcanic activity on surrounding communities is also considered along with ways that societal variables play a role in assessing risk for a given region.

Strengths of the Module

  • This module includes units that provide background readings and videos for students. Learning approaches include gallery walk, jigsaw, think-pair-share, and other small group work to foster an actively engaged student population. All materials can be modified to be used in a range of classroom sizes from small to large.
  • The content of these activities includes elements of three different volcano types (stratovolcano (unit 1), shield (unit 2), and caldera-style (unit 3)) and their respective different eruptive products and hazards.
  • These activities involve developing quantitative analysis skills through authentic volcano monitoring (e.g., GPS, Tilt, LiDAR, InSAR, Seismic) and societal data (all units), graph and map interpretations (all units), and mean recurrence intervals (units 3 & 4).
  • There are elements of real-world and societal applications in which students are asked to consider how infrastructure would be impacted (units 1 & 4), reactions to volcanic activity through the lens of Native populations (unit 2), how to communicate risk to non-scientists (units 3 & 4), and how poverty and corruption may impact risk to a region (unit 4).

Great fit for introductory- and majors-level classes in:

  • Introductory Geology courses (for majors and non-majors)
  • Volcanology (for non-majors and for majors)
  • Geologic and Natural Hazards courses (lower division and upper division)

Instructor Stories: How this module was adapted
for use at three different institutions »



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This module is part of a growing collection of classroom-tested materials developed by GETSI. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »