Home School Years

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Mountains, Islands & Volcanoes

Tropical mountain scene from our Hawaiian vacation

Tropical mountain scene from our Hawaiian vacation (Ko’Olina Country Club)

Related Posts:

Atlantic & Pacific Regions

Cultural Study: Hawaii

Cultural Study: Puerto Rico

Forces of Nature

Swiss Family Robinson

Recommended Books:

  • How Mountains Are Made by Kathleen Weidner (Let’s Read And Find Out Science Stage 2)
  • An Island Grows by Lola M. Schaefer
  • Jump Into Science: Volcano! by Ellen J. Prager
  • Dear Katie, The Volcano Is a Girl by Jean Craighead George
  • Volcanoes by Franklyn M. Branley (Let’s Read And Find Out Science Stage 2)

Earth is a rocky planet with many layers. The surface that we live on is the outermost layer or the Earth’s crust (also known as the lithosphere). The surface of the Earth’s crust varies in depth and height, from the bottom of the oceans to the top of the mountains. There are many natural shapes, features and elevations on the Earth’s surface; a form of natural architecture, so to speak.


A mountain is a large landform that rises above its surrounding area. It is steeper than a hill (smaller mountain). They are formed by slow movements of the Earth’s tectonic plates against the Earth’s crust. Some mountains can be volcanic, such as Mount St. Helens.

  • Hands-On: take a kitchen towel and lay it flat on a table. Put one hand on each end and slowly move your hands together. As you do this, the middle portion of the towel raises upward to mimic the formation of a mountain.

Tallest Mountain in the World: Mount Everest in Asia (based on above sea level).

Related Resource: List of Mountains Around The World


An island is a piece of land that is surrounded by water (oceanic island). They are smaller than continental islands, such as Australia. The vast majority of oceanic islands are volcanic.

Largest Island in the World: Greenland

Related Resource: List of Islands Around The World


A volcano is an opening of the Earth’s crust. Almost 90% of all volcanoes are located in an area circling the edges of the Pacific Ocean known as The Ring of Fire. A volcano forms when the tectonic plates move into the Earth’s crust forcing Earth’s layers upward. When a volcano erupts, it causes an explosion of magma and volcanic ash. Magma is a mixture of super hot, melted rock and other solids inside a volcano. Once outside the volcano, it is referred to as lava. Volcanic ash is a combination of pulverized rock, glass and minerals.

Tallest Volcano in the World: Mauna Kea in Hawaii’s Big Island (based on above sea level). If measured from the oceanic base, Mauna Kea is actually taller than Mount Everest, making it the tallest mountain/volcano in the world.

Related Resource: Map of Active Volcanoes Around The World

Did You Know?: About 90% of volcanic eruptions happen at the bottom of the ocean.


  • Interactive Activity about how tectonic plates affect our world including a map of locations identifying specific mountains, volcanoes and hot spots around the world.
  • Magic School Bus “Blows Its Top” Volcano themed online game.
  • National Geographic Young Explorer has an interactive story titled Hot Rocks discussing volcanoes (2nd story on link).

Craft: Make a Mountain, Volcano or Island with playdoh

Coloring Pages:


Mountain = la montaña

Island = la isla

Volcano = el volcán


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This entry was posted on July 16, 2012 by in Geography, Science and tagged , , , .
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