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Homer's Hill is an open-ended cooperative learning activity that should take 1 - 2 weeks to complete. The process is just as important as the end product. It is recommended that intermediate goals (team effectiveness, work ethic, research, storyboarding...) are evaluated to keep the team on track and on task.
.....Although what the producer wants appears to be concrete, the solutions will be varied since there are numerous locations and
presentation methods that will fulfill the requirements.
.....To make your life easier, the burden of proof should fall on the team. They should submit the proper documentation in their journals and/or in the print outs that they found online to prove that they have an actual and viable find. Make sure that they include all URL's so that you can check them at random for authenticity. Use the Producer's Needs as a check-off list when determining completion of the various parts. It is up to you to decide what you want them to find on the list. There is plenty to keep them busy.
.....Due to the open-ended nature of this lesson, you can have the entire class break off into teams where they can compete for the job. You could also jigsaw it by having groups do research on a specific area and then have them present their findings to the entire class. Their content and delivery will all be different as well as entertaining.
.....You are the Producer of this movie and you can change whatever you want whenever you want, to keep them on their toes.



This lesson addresses the following California Science Content Standards.

Grade 6

Life, Earth, & Physical Sciences

1a: The fit of the continents, location of earthquakes, volcanoes, and midocean ridges, and the distribution of fossils, rock types, and ancient climatic zones provide evidence for plate tectonics.

1b: The solid Earth is layered with cold, brittle lithosphere; hot, convecting mantle; and dense, metallic core.

1d: Earthquakes are sudden motions along breaks in the crust called faults, and volcanoes/fissures are locations where magma reaches the surface.

1e: Major geologic events, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain building result from plate motions.

1f: How to explain major features of California geology in terms of plate tectonics (including mountains, faults, volcanoes).

1g: How to determine the epicenter of an earthquake and that the effects of an earthquake vary with its size, distance from the epicenter, local geology, and the type of construction involved.

3c: Heat flows in solids by conduction (which involves no flow of matter) and in fluids by conduction and also by convection (which involves flow of matter).

4c: Heat from Earth's interior reaches the surface primarily through convection.

Grades 9-12

Earth Science

3d: Why and how earthquakes occur, and the scales used to measure their intensity and magnitude.

3e: Two kinds of volcanoes, one with violent eruptions producing steep slopes and the other with voluminous lava flows producing gentle slopes.

3f: Explanation for the location and properties of volcanoes that are due to hot spots and those that are due to subduction.

Investigation & Experimentation

7a: Develop a hypothesis.

7d: Communicate the steps and results from an investigation in written reports and verbal presentations.

7f: Read a topographic map and a geologic map for evidence provided on the maps, and construct and interpret a simple scale map.

7g: Interpret events by sequence and time from natural phenomena (e.g., relative ages of rocks and intrusions).


In this lesson, students in grades 7-12 should be able to accomplish the following:


Students will use the Internet to conduct background research, analyze data, and determine the variables of volcanic activity.

Students will formulate questions, choose possible solutions to a problem and demonstrate their findings through student designed investigations.

Students will utilize problem solving skills in "defining," "generalizing," "comparing and contrasting," "predicting," and "inferring."

Students will understand the role of volcanoes on earth. . .
i.e. as the primary source of our atmosphere, oceans...


Students are able to use the Internet to search and find information.

Students are able to communicate with others electronically.

Students are able to identify different types of volcanoes, what they produce, and what their legacy can leave behind.

Students are able to describe how different volcanoes work and what various factors make them different.

Students are able to work together cooperatively.

Students are able to present their findings in both written and oral form.


Here are some suggested activities to do as further investigations related to this topic.

  • Create a Web site of interesting facts and figures dealing with volcanism.

  • Go see "Dante's Peak" and/or "Volcano" and critique the scientific authenticity of the story line and special effects.

  • Go to Hawaii for a field investigation of Kilauea. (Hey! I can dream can't I?)