Mini Lesson/Activity

Analyzing a Volcanic Ash Model


Learn about volcanic ash and watch a visualization of the Calbuco volcano to see how ash travels around the world. 

Student Directions


Imagine what comes out of a volcano other than molten lava. What do you think it contains?

  1. Watch the videos and answer the questions. Check with your instructor on how to submit your answers.
  2. Frist, watch the What's Ash Anyway? video to find out about volcanic ash and answer the questions below. 
    1. How is volcanic ash different from fireplace ash?
    2. Why is volcanic ash dangerous?
  3. Watch the video Tracking Volcanic Ash with Satellites. It describes tracking volcanic ash with satellites and shows the Calbuco volcano eruption. Then answer the questions below.
    1. What do you notice about how the ash from the Calbuco volcano traveled?
    2. Why does NASA study volcanic ash?


  1. “What's Ash Anyway? (January 2012).” Global Volcanism Program | Resources & Media,
  2. “Tracking Volcanic Ash with Satellites.” NASA, NASA,

Teacher Note

Teachers, these mini lessons/student activities are perfect "warm up" tasks that can be used as a hook, bell ringer, exit slip, etc. They take less than a class period to complete. Learn more on the "My NASA Data What are Mini Lessons?" page.

Teachers who are interested in receiving the answer key, please complete the Teacher Key Request and Verification Form. 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. 

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