The Sleeping Mountain
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In this role-playing scenario, students represent townspeople whose lives and livelihoods are endangered by an active volcano that may or may not erupt in the near future. They must debate whether to invest in or to abandon their town. The site outlines the roles and includes a description of the original, real volcano that inspired the scenario, Mammoth Mountain in California, with a list of links. Before the debate, the students must research monitoring volcano activity and write a paper about it.
- Examine methods used to monitor volcanoes.
- Evaluate the risks of volcanic activity in a fictitious setting
- Experience the ways in which volcanoes affect the lives of the people living near them.
Context for Use
The debate should take one discussion period and student preparation a little longer than that.
The Sleeping Mountain
scenario is well-developed and includes links, scientific background, and characters. Students will need access to research materials, including Internet-capable computers. It is interesting to compare the resort's Ski Trail Map
and the USGS information
. Variants of one or both of these should be given to certain students (depending on their perspective of the area).
Teaching Notes and Tips
This exercise is ready to run, although educators may wish to customize the scenario a bit. I would add the USGS Mammoth Mountain Page (more info)
to the "required" list.
There is a 3-page paper due the day of the debate on volcano monitoring that will help prepare the students. The assignment includes links to helpful advice on writing papers.
References and Resources
An interesting counterpoint to the links about the geologic hazard at Mammoth Mountain provided in the Sleeping Mountain Scenario are these optimistic tourist-business sites. Understandably, none of them mention the active volcano under the resort.
Other approaches to role-playing that involve volcanoes are:
Geology, Environmental Science:Natural Hazards:
Classroom Activity, Activities
Grade LevelCollege Lower (13-14):
Ready for Use
Ready to Use, Meets Peer Review Standard:
Anonymous Peer Review
Earth System Topics
Geography, Solid Earth, Human Dimensions:
Natural Hazards, Solid Earth:
Human Dimensions/Resources, Earth surface
ThemeTeach the Earth:Teaching Environments:
Intro Geoscience, Teach the Earth:Teaching Topics:
Volcanoes, Teach the Earth:Incorporating Societal Issues:
Hazards, Teach the Earth:Course Topics: