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Lesson Plans

Click here for the list of New Zealand Volcanoes Lesson Plans.

There is also Recommended Reading for Students.

This series of lessons has been developed for use in New Zealand primary and intermediate schools with students from Years 5-8 (9 – 13 years old) covering curriculum levels 2-4.

The information, activities and experiments are intended to enable teachers to cover this topic confidently and with minimal preparation, using readily available, inexpensive materials.

The information will also be valuable for anyone wanting to know more about New Zealand’s spectacular volcanic processes.

This series of lessons was written by Alison Pullar during a RSNZ Primary Science Teacher Fellowship hosted by GNS Science, Lower Hutt in 2009.


Each lesson is framed as a question and includes

  • teacher’s notes - a brief background of the content to add to teachers prior knowledge,
  • a lesson plan - a teaching sequence of discussions and activities including learning intentions, success criteria, links to resources and vocabulary.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) and links for further inquiry.

Lessons are sequential and intended to build knowledge in an order that promotes a growing understanding of concepts. Once a knowledge base is built, later lessons require students to apply what they know by creating a model of an erupting New Zealand volcano, exploring it’s past, present, and possible future behaviour, and presenting their findings to their peers.

Covering all lessons could take up to a term. Although it is not essential to complete all activities, making a volcano (lesson 9) is probably the most memorable and rewarding aspect and should not be left out. Of course nothing beats a field trip to the real thing if you live close enough!