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Fire and Rain: An Exploration of Rainforests and Volcanoes in Latin America

November 16, 2016 - This standards-based workshop explored volcanoes, geological processes, tropical ecology, biodiversity and conservation of rainforests in Latin America. Guilherme Gualda, Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Vanderbilt University, presented evidence of geological processes related to the breakup of South America and Africa and the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean some 130 million years ago. Maria Luisa Jorge, Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Vanderbilt University, discussed tropical ecology, biodiversity and conservation of rainforests in Latin America. Jennifer Bradham, Ph.D candidate at Vanderbilt University specializing in ecology and conservation biology, shared field investigations conducted earlier in 2016 as well as provided tools for project-based learning.”

Related Resources:

A Teacher's Guide to Stratovolcanoes of the World by National Geophysical Data Center

The purpose of this guide is to provide additional material to educators interested in using the Stratovolcanoes of the World poster published by the National Geophysical Data Center. For Nevado de Ruiz volcano in Colombia (page 15), NGDC provides a map showing the location of the volcano, a table of facts, a short fictional story to bring the volcano to life, and a section with questions to ponder, suggested activities, and additional references. 

Teaching Earth Science in Developing Countries by Lara Kapelanczyk, Michigan Technological University

The purpose of this paper is to provide examples of lessons and activities that can be used in developing countries (with a focus on Latin America) to help teach children about basic earth science principals and in particular, teach children about volcanoes. 

The Legend Of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl

Aztec mythology relates the legend of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, lovers that turned into volcanoes.

Ecuador's Oil Legacy: Media Skills, Justice and Preservation 

This grades 6-12 curriculum packet, developed in 2010 by award-winning, high school world geography teacher Nicole Means and Rachel Carrico, project manager and teaching artist for New Orleans-based theater company Play/Write, provides lessons and media skills activities based on the film, ¡Justicia Now!

This guide is divided into two units. The first teaches students about not only the cultures, history, and geography of the Amazonian rainforest but also why it must be preserved. Students will also get a glimpse into the very real problems that oil companies and the toxic oil have caused for the environment, animals, inhabitants, and the rainforest as a whole. The second unit asks students to create a futuristic newscast announcing the end of all available crude oil on earth. Beginning with the film, ¡Justicia Now!, as the foundation of the unit, students will learn about the implications of current and future oil drilling in vulnerable places like Ecuador; learn how thoroughly most current American lifestyles depend on oil production; imagine how their lives would change with the sudden loss of all oil; and utilize writing, and collaboration (and possibly media) skills to develop a futuristic newscast which investigates a fictional scenario: the sudden end of all crude oil available for drilling on earth.

Volcano Fact Sheet || Volcano Glossary (English/Spanish)

Earth Science Lessons

Volcano World is a higher education, K-12 and public outreach project of the Oregon Space Grant Consortium administered through the Department of Geosciences at Oregon State University.  This collection of Earth Science lessons are geared toward and tested by 5-8 grade students. 

Rainforest Alliance

Includes virtual visits to Latin American rainforests; online simulated games; stories about the rainforest in Spanish, Portuguese and English; printable activities, and fact books about rainforest species.

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
A bilingual (Spanish/English) set of resources about tropical ecology and the environment.


PPT From Supereruption to Supervolcano - Workshop Presentation
PDF Volcano Fact Sheet
PDF Volcano Glossary - English and Spanish