Lesson 2: Earthquakes and Volcanoes

Getting Started

Questions to Explore

  • Why does the environment change?
  • How do changes in the environment lead to further change?
  • How do changes in the environment affect people and animals?

Facts and Definitions

  • Earthquakes occur when there is shaking, rolling, or a sudden movement of the earth's surface.
  • Volcanoes occur when sections of the earth's crust, called plates, rub against one another and produce heat. This heat causes the rocks below to vibrate and to be come very hot, turning the rocks to magma.
  • Magma is liquid rock that is beneath the earth's surface.
  • Lava is the magma that is released from the vent of the volcano.


  • Plan and conduct simple descriptive investigations. (S)
  • Communicate findings about simple investigations. (S)
  • Observe, describe, and record changes in size, mass, color, position, quantity, time, temperature, sound, and movement. (S)
  • Describe properties of rocks. (S)


  • 16 oz. soda or water bottle
  • action figures, small toy houses and cars, etc.
  • baking pan
  • baking soda
  • cardboard
  • flour
  • funnel
  • glass soft drink bottle
  • measuring cup
  • red food coloring
  • scissors
  • tablespoon
  • U.S. map
  • white vinegar


The weather is constantly changing our environment. Ask your child to explain ways the weather changes. Review that the Earth's position to the sun affects the temperature in the environment. As the Earth revolves around the sun on its axis, there are times when the position of each hemisphere is closer to the sun. This makes the rays from the sun more direct or less direct and results in different seasons on Earth.

Discuss how weather can be dangerous. Describe the effects of hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. This lesson will cover two other dangerous changes that can occur in the environment — earthquakes and volcanoes.