Puzzling Patterns - Where Does Volcanism Occur?
What's the Point?
- Maps of Earth and Mars with and without volcanos
- Small colored sticky dots
- A large tipped, brightly colored marker or highlighter
- Poster paper
1. Provide the teams with copies of the maps of Mars and Earth without the volcanos marked, and invite them to examine the maps.
What do they observe on the different maps? Answers will vary and may include that the Earth has water and land and Mars has no oceans; there are volcanos, Mars has more craters, etc.
2. Ask the children if they see any volcanos on the map of Mars. Invite them to place a dot on top of each volcano they see.
- What do the volcanos look like? Circular shapes that have a high peak. They may have a caldera in center, a bowl shaped "hole." Remind the children that these images are from space, and what may look like a small feature from space could actually be very large.
- Can they find Olympus Mons on Mars? It is the tallest, widest volcano on Mars.
3. Invite the children to examine the map of Earth more closely. The Earth map and the Mars map are not to the same scale.
- Do they see any features that look like the volcanos on Mars? Probably not.
- Does Earth have active volcanos? Absolutely — the children may be familiar with the Hawaiian islands and Mount St. Helens in Washington. Help the children find Mauna Kea in the Hawaiian volcano chain.
- Why might volcanos be hard to see on this map of Earth? Because, at this scale, the volcanos are very tiny!
4. Provide the children with the maps of Earth and Mars with the volcanos marked.
- What does the map of Earth show? Where active or historically active volcanos occur.
- How does the number of volcanos the children identified on the other map of Earth compare with this map? There probably are many more volcanos on the volcano map than the children were able to identify.
- How does the number of volcanos the children identified on the other map of Mars compare with the map of volcanos on Mars? They probably identified most of the volcanos on Mars. They probably identified most of the volcanos on Mars.
5. Have the children make observations about the volcanos on Mars compared to Earth. Invite them to take notes of their observations about the number, size, shape, and patterns of the volcanos on the different planets.
- Which has more, Earth or Mars?
- Where are the volcanos bigger? What do they recall from building the volcanos?
- Do they notice any pattern to the volcanos? Do they make particular shapes? Are they located in particular places?
6. Once the teams have completed their observations, bring them back together as a group to discuss their findings.
Have the older children ponder why the differences they observed between the volcanos on Earth and Mars might happen. What are their ideas? They will undertake an activity that shares one of the reasons that the Mars volcanos are so large! Allow a few minutes for the children to record their ideas in their GSI Journal.