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Volcanoes Rock!

Hey kids, check out this wickED volcano theme!

Explore our volcanoes

Read articles, look at photos, and watch video clips of New Zealand volcanoes and choose one that interests you to investigate further.

Take a look at the New Zealand volcanoes and choose one to learn more about. On your computer, 'Bookmark' this webpage or add it your 'Favourites' so you remember where to find it again.

Find out where it is in New Zealand and the name of the nearest town or city.

Find out what type of volcano it is.

  • Look at the diagrams of the three major types of volcanoes in New Zealand.
  • Go back to a photo of your chosen volcano and compare it with the diagrams. What type of volcano is it?
  • Draw a coloured diagram of your volcano and add the name of the volcano as a title.
  • Read about the type of volcanoes and in your own words, write a sentence or two to describe your volcano.

Use your 'Bookmarks' or 'Favourites' to go to your chosen volcano on the computer again. Find out the date of most recent eruption - where and when it was and its effects (such as an eruption, ash, or lava flow).

When you have finished, fill in the 'What I have Learnt' column in your graphic organiser.

Volcanic Words

  • Find the meaning of volcanic words by reading and looking at photos and video clips on the following web pages:
  • Choose some words from those listed below (or add others that relate to your chosen volcano) and write a few words or a sentence in your own words that describes what they mean (an example).
cone vent caldera ash fall
lava magma geyser crater a
lahar eruption gas plume hot (boiling) spring
  • Choose some words to add as labels to the diagram of your chosen volcano.

Erupting legends

In this activity you will read a Maori legend about Mount Taranaki and then either create a legend of your own or one you know of from your own iwi.

  • 6-8 pieces A4 paper
  • Coloured pencils, felts, crayons, or pastels
  • *Storyboard software (optional)
  • Look at and read the legends about Mount Taranaki and Mount Tarawera.
  • Now create your own legend about one or more volcanoes. Try to base it on tribal history but if you don't, make this point clear in your introduction. Here are some accounts of eruptions in New Zealand to use as background information: Tarawera, Tongariro and Ngāuruhoe, Ruapehu: 1861-1945, and Ruapehu: after 1945.
  • Your legend could include:
    • well known volcanoes of New Zealand
    • how they came to be/where they are found
    • the eruption of volcanoes.
  • Now make a storyboard of your legend. First plan out on paper what or how you are going to create the legend.

    Tips: Start with the story first to give you ideas as to what the pictures might look like. Keep your sentences short so there is more space to draw the pictures.

  • Before you start your final copy of the legend, make sure an adult has checked it.
  • There are several ways you could present your storyboard legend:
    • poster
    • PowerPoint
    • Word document
    • storyboard software

*Teachers: to find suitable storyboard software, go to Software for Learning.


Volcano poetry

  • Use volcano words to create a cinquain poem. Each line of the poem builds on the one before, and the finished poem looks like a triangle or a volcano. 
  • Cut around the words and display it on a volcano background (see the above activity).

Volcano investigation

  • Go to the Living Heritage website and read about how the students at Three Kings School investigated a local volcano eruption. Learn how they discovered their school was built in a volcano crater!
  • Read what they learnt and look at their drawings on the Three Kings volcanic eruption. See how they have used vibrant colours and the smudging effect with pastels to capture the action in their art work.
  • Write down some great action words (verbs) to describe volcanoes. Try to include action words of things you would see, hear, and might smell.
  • Create your own art work - you could use one of the following methods:
    • crayon and dye
    • pastels
    • paint
    • mobile
    • a computer drawing programme.
  • Display your art work with some written work, for example, with labels (action words), a caption (a sentence), or a poem.

Lava flow

This experiment will require adult supervision.


  • chicken wire (60cm by 60cm)
  • newspaper
  • paste or glue
  • paint (for colouring in your volcano)
  • deep tray (for building your volcano in)
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon food colouring
  • small drink bottle.
  1. Cut the top off the drink bottle.
  2. Mould the chicken wire in a volcano shape around the bottle, making sure to leave a hole about the size of a $2 coin at the top of your volcano.
  3. Rip the newspaper and glue it to the chicken wire. Continue doing this until the chicken wire is completely covered with glued newspaper.
  4. Leave overnight or longer until the glue is dry.
  5. Paint your volcano all over, using 'earthy colours' and leave overnight or longer until it is dry.
  6. Place the baking soda in the drink bottle and place it in the deep tray. Place the volcano on the top.
  7. With an adult's supervision, add food colouring to the vinegar and then slowly pour the liquid into the bottle. Watch out - eruption time!

For alternative instructions, go to the 'make a volcano' activity.