Plate Tectonic - Volcanoes (5)
Post Lab 

  • Critiquing books on volcanoes for their scientific content
  • Comparing the literary style of science books.
  • none
  • two books on volcanoes or Internet
  • recommend: Volcanoes by Franklyn M. Branley (Harper and Row), and Earthquakes and Volcanoes by Laurence Santrey (Troll)

Students compare information available in books and the Internet.

Soufriere Hills, West Indies


Volcanoes are fascinating, not only to scientists, but also to many other people around the world. The strength and beauty of an erupting volcano, has inspired books and poems around the world. This beauty is also coupled with the destruction that volcanoes cause when they erupt.

The word "volcano" comes from the Italian island of Vulcano near Sicily. The Roman god of the underworld used the volcano’s hot lava to create thunderbolts for Jupiter, the king of gods, and weapons for Mars, the god of war.

  1. Adults know that some books are written better than others. This however, is not as obvious to children, especially since books are chosen for them. In this exercise we have the students critique two or more books to decide for themselves which is better.
  2. Choose two books from the school library that are between a first and third grade reading level. This exercise is designed to test the students critical reading skills. After they read the books students should decide whether or not they would recommend the book to a young child. We recommend the following two books: Volcanoes by Franklyn M. Branley (Harper and Row) and Earthquakes and Volcanoes by Laurence Santrey (Troll). The reason for these books is because one has a story line (Volcanoes) while the other revolves around facts (Earthquakes and Volcanoes).
    You may also want students to compare different Internet sites on volcanoes. Some sites provide much more information than others.
  3. Explain to students that they should observe if the book is scientifically accurate, easy to read, illustrated, and interesting. Try to recommend an interesting book and one that is "dry." Instruct students to voice their opinions by reading their critiques to the class. See if they have differing opinions. This may be a chance for a debate. If students are unfamiliar with critiques, you may want to guide their comments by having them fill in the graph below.



Author, Title    
Scientifically correct    
Other Comments    

[Back to Plate Tectonic Grid]
   [Back to Volcanoes (5)]