Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Modeling and Measuring Volcanic Eruptions


National Middle School Science Standards

Earth Science, Physical Science

Key Terms

volcanology, explosive eruption, pyroclastic flow, density, entrainment, plume

Key Concepts

  • Types of volcanic eruption
  • Behavior of an explosive eruption
  • Differing densities of volcanic materials
  • Modeling pyroclastic flows
  • Technology used by volcanologists

Resource Types

Geosciences Subject Guide Smithsonian Libraries

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

The Modeling and Measuring Volcanic Eruptions teaching resources support students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations.

Earth Science

MS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity

  • .MS-ESS3-1 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth's mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are the result of past and current geoscience processes.
  • MS-ESS3-2 Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.

Physical Science

MS-PS3 Energy

  • MS-PS3-1 Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object.
  • MS-PS3-5 Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.
Resource Type
Subject Guides
Grade Level
Learning Standards
Next Generation Science Standards
Earth Science, Physical Science