Implementation of ‘Using arts to reconstruct a volcanic eruption’ (SOI-IT-18)

Context of the implementation

My name is Angela Colli, I am the president of Pavia section of ANISN (Italian National Association of Science Teachers). I organize workshops and training for in-service teachers about STEM subjects. I have decided to implement the learning scenario “Using Arts to reconstruct a volcanic eruption” with the collaboration of my colleague, Paola Cazzani, a Science teacher at Istituto A. Bassi, a technical school in Lodi (Italy).

Why implementing this learning scenario?

We realized the scenario with students attending the first year of “Constructions, environment and territory” curriculum. They are 15-16 years old. The Science national indications, by the Italian Ministry of Education for this type of school, include the study of volcanoes and earthquakes. At the same time, in Geography, the national indications require the study of landscapes and their evolution. Earth science is considered a difficult topic for these students. In order to engage them in this topic, we decided to implement the scenario proposed by Teresita Gravina. This activity was designed for younger students (11-13 year old) but it is suitable also for our students because it allows approaching simultaneously two disciplines in an original and engaging way.

Let’s start

Therefore, we adapted the scenario to Science National Indications for Italian High School, focusing not only on Mt. Vesuvius but also on other volcanoes. Furthermore, we adopted the inquiry-based methodology: students answer and pose questions in different steps. We started with two questions:

-Where in Italy are there volcanoes?

-How do volcanoes affect landforms?

The activities

Students had already learned the classification of volcanoes, they searched on Europeana platform and on Volcano Observatory website images (paintings, photographs) of Italian volcanoes and rocks connected to their different types of eruptions.

Students divided into small groups drew images of volcanoes. Each group was in charge of a volcano (Vesuvio, Etna, Vulcano, Stromboli, Campi Flegrei and Ischia) and had to choose one eruption and to reconstruct it using a timeline to highlight the changes in the landscape. They had to use the materials found on Europeana, to credit and to match them with their knowledge about volcanic activities.

Students presented the results of their work with a PowerPoint presentation and were asked about what they would do in case of a volcanic eruption in order to emphasize that different types of volcanic activities require different behavior.

The product

Would you like to know more about this learning scenario? Have a look below:

Each group produced a billboard with the volcano drawing, its history, its localization and the photo of rocks produced during their typical activity. An exhibition of all billboards was set up in a Science Fair (Scienza Under 18) in May.

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CC BY 4.0 – The featured image used to illustrate this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution. Therefore, it can be found in the Wellcome Collection. It has been created by Pietro Fabris. It has also been resized and labeled to illustrate this article. To find the original image click here.

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