Homeschool Volcano Resources

Now is the time to study volcanoes. Studying current events helps our children understand what is happening in the world, and it adds interest that they otherwise might not have in a particular topic. Hawaii is experiencing an active volcanic eruption, so we wanted to share some volcano-related homeschool resources  so you can use this current event to teach about this subject.

SMOKE continues to billow out the Kilauea volcano crater since the Hawaii mountain erupted. Thousands of people have been evacuated as the lava flow consumes homes in its path. Here is today’s video about the current situation.

Leilani Estates has lost 26 homes due to the encroaching lava, and hazardous fumes are continuing to pollute the air.

There are many videos being shared on social media. Now we’re beginning to see video of the lava flows as they happened — like this one, taken by a time-lapse camera on the Leilani Estates properties, according to a storm-watching social media account. Here is one where the lava is being held back by a gate… for a short time.

In the video, you can see the steaming lava emerging from the underbrush, fully covering the road, and ultimately consuming a parked car that was, unfortunately, not moved. Another cut in the video shows a telephone pole going down as the lava continues to smolder, air filled with smoke.

Let’s Study the Numbers

5 Volcanoes on Hawaii’s Big Island

Kilauea is ranked among one of the world’s most active volcanoes and is one of five on Hawaii’s Big Island, according to the US Geological Survey.

6.9 Earthquake

The southeast corner of the island was rocked by a 6.9 tremor on Friday, the strongest quake to hit the island since 1975.

12 Fissures

The ground splits open and exposes cracks where lava can flow out. The Big Island has at least 10 fissures spouting lava and sulfur dioxide.

26 Homes Destroyed

Unfortunately, this number is growing by the minute. “The intermittent eruption of lava in the Leilani Estates subdivision in the lower East Rift Zone of Kīlauea Volcano continues,” the US Geological Survey said around 9 p.m. Sunday (3 a.m. ET Monday).

35 Years of Constant Eruption

Kilauea has been in constant eruption for the last 35 years. Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and this high activity level dates back to January, 1983.

174 Earthquakes

Hawaii’s Big Island is now on orange alert meaning “major volcanic eruption is imminent, underway, or suspected, but it poses limited hazards to aviation because of no or minor volcanic-ash emissions,” according to the US Geological Survey. The USGS says earthquake activity in the summit is still at elevated levels. Within a 48-hour period over the weekend, experts have detected 174 quakes within three miles of the volcano’s crater.

230 Feet in the Air

The volcano continues to spew lava and toxic gas from the fissures on Hawaii’s Big Island and some red-hot lava fountains were spouting up to 230 feet into the air.

1,800+ Residents Evacuated

All residents of Leilani Estates and the nearby Lanipuna Gardens were told to evacuate. For one resident, that meant saying goodbye to a house he built with his own hands. But the good news is… no major fatalities or injuries have been reported from the volcano, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency. Praise God!

2,140 Degrees Fahrenheit

This is the temperature of Kīlauea lava when it erupts, and it’s hot enough to melt gold!! After lava starts seeping across the surface, you can usually tell how hot it is by its color. Yellow means the lava is about 1,832 to 2,192 degrees Fahrenheit. Orange is about 1,472 to 1,832 degrees. And red is about 1,112 to 1,472 degrees.

387,500 Square Feet

Lava has spread over approximately 387,500 square feet surrounding the most active fissure. Thankfully the rate of movement is slow… giving residents time to react.

Let’s Learn About Earthquakes and Volcanoes

Here is a great visual for Plate Tectonics, which shows “earthquakes and volcanoes.”

And how an earthquake happens:


And now how a volcano works:

Homeschool Resources

Click the green words below to go to the resource.

WinterPromise has a great Free unit Study on Volcanoes!!  They use a Charlotte Mason approach and have lots of other unit studies. has an entire unit on volcanoes, including videos. This unit is part of their AP Environmental Science Homeschool course. It covers volcanic formation and hazards. covers all the recent volcanic eruptions in detail, including this most recent one in Hawaii. It has a ton of information on rock, tools, etc. It is a great resource.

Scholastic has an interactive Magic School Bus game that your kids will love. Lots of education is happening in this game.

PBS Learning Media has some great middle school resources! Students investigate the processes that build volcanoes, the factors that influence different eruption types, and the threats volcanoes pose to their surrounding communities.

For my Montessori Moms, here are some free 3 part cards (nomenclature cards) to study volcanoes.

Some Hawaii natives are leaving gifts to an ancient legend, ka wahine ai honua, the woman who devours the land. Pele (pronounced peh-leh) is the goddess of fire of Hawaiian legend. She rules lightning, wind, dance and volcanoes. Learn more about this ancient legend. 

Volcano Kits

Books about Earthquakes

Books about Volcanoes

Books about Pompeii

Note … be very careful to review anything about Pompeii before sharing with your children. It was a city of brothels and the art and statues are graphic. Be sure the books are children’s books!!

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