The Relationship Between the Earth's Crust, Mantle and Volcanoes

free lesson plan and resources about the relationship betweenth earth's crust, mantle and volcanoes

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  • Students will be able to describe the relationship between the Earth’s composition (specifically the crust and mantle) and volcanoes.

Questions that encompasses the objective:

  • What do we need to know about the Earth’s crust and mantle in order to understand how volcanoes work? Why?

Prepare the Learner: Activating Prior Knowledge. 

How will students prior knowledge be activated?

Warm up by asking students:

  • Warm up by asking students: Describe what you already know about the structure of the Earth.

Materials and Free Resources to Download for this Lesson: 

What is the most important content in this lesson?
To reach this lesson’s objective, students need to understand:

  • The Earth’s crust.

  • The Earth’s mantle.

  • How the Earth’s crust and mantle affect volcanic activity.

How will the learning of this content be facilitated?

  • In this lesson, students will complete a jigsaw activity that requires them to read an article, gather information, and share it.

  • Initially, students will be grouped together by reading levels. As a group, they will read one article (tailored to their shared reading level) and collect information about the Earth’s crust and mantle in relation to volcanoes.

  • After the students complete the reading assignment with their original group, they will disperse into new groups that include students who read different articles. In the new group, each student will take a turn to describe the information he or she read and wrote down with his or her original group, and at the end of the session, all of the students will have obtained information from all three articles (although each student will have read only 1 article).​


  • As a final assessment, students will answer the following question, using notes they took during the activity: What do we need to know about the Earth’s crust and mantle in order to understand how volcanoes work?  Why?

3-5 minutes
Guided Introduction

Review the class/ agenda with the students:

  1. Introduce question to be answered at the end of the lesson

  2. Activity directions

  3. Jigsaw Part 1: Read and gather information in groups

  4. Jigsaw Part 2: Share information in groups

  5. Independent Assessment

20 minutes

Jigsaw Part 1

  • After they are introduced to the final assessment question and given written and verbal procedural directions, students will disperse into assigned reading groups of 3-4 individuals. They will read their assigned article together (out loud), and answer the following questions about their article on their graphic organizers:

    • Something I learned about the Earth’s crust:

    • Something I learned about the Earth’s mantle:

    • How the Earth’s crust and/or mantle affects volcanic activity:

10 Minutes

Guided Gallery Walk Activity:

Jigsaw Part 2

  • Students will be assigned to new groups that are composed of 3-4 students who read different articles (for example, Student 1 read the “advanced” article, Student 2 read the “intermediate” article, and Student 3 read the “beginner” article).

  • Each student will take a turn to share the information she or he gathered from a specific article with the other students, and they will record the new information on their graphic organizers. **Encourage the students to verbalize the information when they share it, in lieu of letting the members of their group simply copy their notes.

10 minutes

  • After the completed jigsaw activity, students will return to the assessment question that was introduced at the beginning of the lesson:

  • What do we need to know about the Earth’s crust and mantle in order to understand how volcanoes work? Why?

  • Here, they will be given 2-3 minutes to reread their notes from the activity, then an additional 7-8 minutes to construct a short response. **The students should include information from 2 or more of the articles in their final answer. 


Individualized Instruction/Scaffolding

English Language Learners will be supported in this lesson through data-based heterogeneous grouping, verbal and written repetition of new vocabulary words, and multiple representation of vocabulary words through printed images and video.

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