Explain: This phase of the 5 E’s helps students explain the concepts they have been exploring. They have opportunities to verbalize their conceptual understanding or to demonstrate new skills or behaviors. This phase also provides opportunities for teachers to introduce formal terms, definitions, and explanations for concepts, processes, skills, or behaviors.

There are really 4 main topics I want students to know about in more detail than has been covered already.  They are

  1. Constructive Volcanism
  2. Destructive Volcanism
  3. Hot Spot Volcanism
  4. Earthquakes (including effects e.g. tsunamis)
A Jigsaw activity would be a perfect way for students to get clued up on these topics while remaining engaged.  I would do this jigsaw activity over 2 weeks perhaps (or 1 1/2 lessons)- time permitting – to give students enough time for adequate group discussions and a class discussion about each topic on completion of the Jigsaw activity.
For those who do not know about Jigsaw activities… This comes from The Jigsaw Classroom website http://www.jigsaw.org/steps.htm

Jigsaw in 10 Easy Steps
The jigsaw classroom is very simple to use. If you’re a teacher, just follow these steps:

  1. Divide students into 5- or 6-person jigsaw groups. The groups should be diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, race, and ability.
  2. Appoint one student from each group as the leader. Initially, this person should be the most mature student in the group.
  3. Divide the day’s lesson into 5-6 segments. For example, if you want history students to learn about Eleanor Roosevelt, you might divide a short biography of her into stand-alone segments on: (1) Her childhood, (2) Her family life with Franklin and their children, (3) Her life after Franklin contracted polio, (4) Her work in the White House as First Lady, and (5) Her life and work after Franklin’s death.
  4. Assign each student to learn one segment, making sure students have direct access only to their own segment.
  5. Give students time to read over their segment at least twice and become familiar with it. There is no need for them to memorize it.
  6. Form temporary “expert groups” by having one student from each jigsaw group join other students assigned to the same segment. Give students in these expert groups time to discuss the main points of their segment and to rehearse the presentations they will make to their jigsaw group. 
  7. Bring the students back into their jigsaw groups.
  8. Ask each student to present her or his segment to the group. Encourage others in the group to ask questions for clarification.
  9. Float from group to group, observing the process. If any group is having trouble (e.g., a member is dominating or disruptive), make an appropriate intervention. Eventually, it’s best for the group leader to handle this task. Leaders can be trained by whispering an instruction on how to intervene, until the leader gets the hang of it.
  10. At the end of the session, give a quiz on the material so that students quickly come to realize that these sessions are not just fun and games but really count.
So in my Jigsaw activity, I would allocate Jigsaw groups with an even distribution of diverse learners through the groups (e.g. 6 groups of 4).  There would be 4 “expert” tables – each with information about the topic students are to become expert in. The expert table would include a task or guide sheet to guide students to what needs to be researched, any printed material or appropriate books, and links to appropriate websites (teacher guided so students do not get confused with alternative volcanoes or materials which are not consistent with the nomenclature used in the rest of the unit).

  • Example of the outline of the task sheets for each expert table….
1.  Your topic  is Constructive Volcanism.  Research the materials and websites provided and write notes (and draw diagrams where appropriate) relating to the following:
  1. What constructive volcanism is
  2. Types of volcanism at divergent boundaries
  3. Oceanic Ridges
  4. Rifts
  5. Lava composition – most common type – other types of lava which may be present
  6. Pillow lava
  7. Gas composition
  8. Eruption types commonly occurring with divergent volcanoes and mechanism
  9. Unique features of Iceland and its volcanism
  10. Features of current erupting divergent volcanoes
2.  Your topic  is Destructive Volcanism.  Research the materials and websites provided and write notes (and draw diagrams where appropriate) relating to the following:
  1. What destructive volcanism is
  2. Types of volcanism at convergent boundaries
  3. Ocean/ Terrestrial Arcs / the Ring of Fire
  4. Trenches
  5. Pyroclastic flow
  6. Pyroclastic particles/ tephra
  7. Lava composition/ eruption types/ mechanism
  8. mudslides/ lahas
  9. Scoria cones, fumaroles, geysers
  10. Calderas
  11. Current erupting convergent volcano notes
3.  Your topic  is Hot Spots.  Research the materials and websites provided and write notes (and draw diagrams where appropriate) relating to the following:
  1. What hot spots are (and convection cells)
  2. Where they occur
  3. Types of volcanoes at hotspots
  4. Formation of seamounts and volcanic islands
  5. Lava composition/ eruption types/ mechanism
  6. Pyroclastic particles
  7. scoria cones, fumaroles, geysers
  8. Calderas
  9. Current erupting Hot Spot volcano features.
4.  Your topic  is Earthquakes.  Research the materials and websites provided and write notes (and draw diagrams where appropriate) relating to the following:
  1. What they are and where they occur (and how often)
  2. Major and minor faults
  3. How earthquakes occur
  4. seismic wave types and features
  5. liquefaction
  6. landslides
  7. tsunamis
  • The jigsaw group will split, with the 4 students in the group going to their allocated expert table.  The students will research their topic (there is an abundance of information on each of these topics in my “What I need to know” posts along with links to appropriate and consistent websites.  (The posts would be appropriate for the level of a 9-10 student).  There is a good YouTube clip on the ring of fire here

which provides some good information.

  • Once the students have read up and taken notes on their topics.  The expert groups will sit together and review their information.  Together, the expert groups will compile a collaborative report on their subject which will be agreed on by all students.  The teacher will encourage students to write the review of their expert topic IN POINT FORM – to make it easier to remember points to explain to their group – but will encourage students to draw diagrams.
  • When all students/ expert groups are satisfied they have become experts in their topics, the students go back to their original jigsaw groups and teach their expert topic to their group members.  It is possible for jigsaw groups to have access to a computer when teaching their group members – it may help to show some interactive diagrams when explaining a concept (such as seismic wave movement) – but the computer should not replace direct teaching and should only be used when absolutely necessary.  Group members will take notes in their log books on their group members topics as well as teaching their own topic.  When the groups are satisfied they have covered and understood all of the topics there will be a class discussion where the teacher will ask questions about the topics.  At this point it may be a good idea for the class to compile a concept map of what they have learned in the class.
  • Any points which have not been covered accurately can be addressed by the teacher.
  • Review the activity and ask students what they enjoyed or didn’t enjoy.  Teacher should review log books prior to the next lesson to ensure all students are on-track (formative assessment).
I think this activity would be a fantastic tool for keeping students engaged through learning.  The activity will provide students with knowledge that can be applied in the elaborate phase, which will in-turn deepen students understanding.