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Robert Lucking, ODU professor of educational curriculum and instruction, applauds when elementary and secondary school science teachers tie their Earth science lessons to major news stories. Media coverage of a volcanic eruption, for example, can make a lesson on volcanoes jump off the textbook page.

But in an article he co-wrote for the March issue of Science Scope magazine, Lucking says teaching aids, such as can be found on the Internet and on CD-ROMs, can generate the same kind of classroom excitement as media coverage.

These teaching aids, Lucking points out in the article, are available almost anywhere and anytime, so teachers do not have to wait for Mount St. Helens in Washington state to threatened a new eruption-as it did in 2004-in order to offer their students a multimedia lesson on volcanoes.

The article, "Viewing Volcanoes," was written by Mervyn J. Wighting, assistant professor of education at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Edwin P. Christmann, professor and graduate coordinator of the mathematics and science teaching program at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, and Lucking, who is graduate program director for secondary education and the field-based master's program in the educational curriculum and instructional department of ODU's Darden College of Education.

Using a directory of Web sites in the article, teachers can connect their classrooms to images from a VolcanoCam focused on the crater of Mount St. Helens, or to a schematic of a volcanic eruption that looks real and is more interesting to young students than the baking soda and vinegar simulation used in the past by teachers. Other sites describe the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy in 79 AD and Krakatoa in the Indonesian arc in 1883.

A similar directory identifies CD-ROMs and videos that introduce students to the subject of volcanoes, or provide more advanced looks at the subject.

"We hope the resources described in this article allow teachers to launch in-depth studies of volcanoes-far from any hot ash or lava flows," the authors write.

This article was posted on: March 24, 2005

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