Mini Lesson/Activity

Analyzing Volcanic Ash Data: Student Activity

Mini Lesson


Imagine what comes out of a volcano other than molten lava. What do you think it contains? Watch the video to find out about volcanic ash.  

“What's Ash Anyway? (January 2012).” Global Volcanism Program | Resources & Media,

  1. How is volcanic ash different from fireplace ash?
  2. Why is volcanic ash dangerous?


Watch the video describing tracking volcanic ash with satellites which shows the Calbuco volcano eruption.

  1. What do you notice about how the ash from the Calbuco volcano traveled?
  2. Why does NASA study volcanic ash?

Go Further (Optional)

The video showed a visualization. You can make your own visualization with NASA data found in the EO Kids issue Sky High: Keeping Track of Volcano Plumes.

  1. Use the master copy to make double sided color copies of pages 5-8 on white card stock. *
  2. Gather supplies including scissors, copies and a small binder clip.
  3. Cut the frames apart on the lines. 
  4. Stack the frames in numerical order from 1 to 35. 
  5. Clip the frames together. 
  6. View the flipbook. 
  7. Make your own animation on the backs of the frames.
  8. Clip the flipbook for the animation you created and view it.

* Alternatively, you can print the master copies and use single sided copies for the two flipbooks.

Flipbook Sequence - Image Credit: Sky High: Keeping Track of Volcano Plumes - eo Kids
Image Credit: Sky High: Keeping Track of Volcano Plumes - eo Kids


  1. “What's Ash Anyway? (January 2012).” Global Volcanism Program | Resources & Media,
  2. “Tracking Volcanic Ash with Satellites.” NASA, NASA,
  3. “EO Kids - Sky High: Keeping Track of Volcano Plumes.” NASA, NASA,

Teacher Note

Teachers, these mini lessons/student activities are perfect "warm up" tasks that can be used as a hook, bellringer, exit slip, etc.

Teachers who are interested in receiving the answer key, please contact MND from your school email address at  We verify that requestors are teachers prior to sending access to the answer keys as we’ve had many students try to pass as teachers to gain access. To receive the keys please provide the following:

  1. The link to the school/institution’s teacher directory where you are employed so we can verify that you are a teacher
  2. Ensure that the school email address is provided in your response as we are unable to send to personal email accounts


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