PRISMS: Phenomena & Representation for Instruction of Science in Middle School

Rate This Resource
This is a phenomenon reviewed for the following learning goal:

Water is a solvent. As it passes through the water cycle it dissolves minerals and gases and carries them to the oceans.

Summary

The series of photographs of  'vog' or volcanic smog caused by the  long-lasting eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii is accompanied by text that describes how vog is created. An additional digitally enhanced map shows effects of trade winds on pollution concentration. This can be used to address the key idea that water is a solvent. As it passes through the water cycle it dissolves minerals and gases and carries them to the oceans.  Comprehensibility may be an issue for middle school students, as this requires multiple steps to make the connection to the water cycle ideas.

Limitations: The resource does not address that water is a solvent directly,  but it does mention that the eruption clouds contain water vapor and sulfur dioxide.

Suggestions to improve effectiveness: Discuss the connection between sulfur dioxide gas in the atmosphere and how it dissolves in water vapor. Note that this is because water is a solvent. As it passes through the water cycle it dissolves minerals and gases and carries them to the oceans. Use this to introduce what is happening in the erupting clouds of this volcano. Point out to students that the greatest amount of gas coming from any volcano is in the form of water vapor.

Display the Resource

Detailed Review

Description

The phenomenon is a series of photographs of 'vog' or volcanic smog caused by the long-lasting eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii. Text included with the images describes how vog is created. An additional digitally enhanced map shows effects of trade winds on pollution concentration.

  • Resource Copyright Owner: USGS
  • Type of Resource: text/html


Content alignment

The resource does not specifically address the actual substance of the learning goal but could be used to specifically address it.

Explanation

VOG is an example of a gas that becomes dissolved in water and is carried through the water cycle.

Scope

The resource addresses the indicated part of the learning goal:

Explanation

[Water is a solvent. As it passes through the water cycle it dissolves] minerals and [gases] and carries them to the oceans.

Sophistication

The resource correctly reflects the level of sophistication of the learning goal.

Explanation

Photos with short captions are appropriate for middle level though the text description of the chemical reaction involved in making volcanic pollution is at a higher level.

Notes for Teachers

The resource does not address that water is a solvent directly, but it does mention that the eruption clouds contain water vapor and sulfur dioxide. Discuss the connection between sulfur dioxide gas in the atmosphere and how it dissolves in water vapor. Note that this is because water is a solvent. As it passes through the water cycle it dissolves minerals and gases and carries them to the oceans.

Quality of instructional support

Is the relationship between the phenomenon and the learning goal made clear?

Partial—The relationship between the phenomenon and the learning goal is only made partially clear.

The photos of gases erupting from the volcano and erupting cloud composed of sulfur dioxide and water vapor do not explicitly show that in this phenomenon that water is a solvent which dissolves gases.

Is the phenomenon likely to be comprehensible to students?

Partial—The phenomenon may be comprehensible to students.

The text explanation “When sulfur dioxide (SO2)gas is released, it reacts chemically with sunlight, oxygen, dust particles, and water in the air to form a mixture of sulfate (S04-2) aerosols (tiny particles and droplets), sulfuric acid (H2SO4), and other oxidized sulfur species. Together, this gas and aerosol mixture produces a hazy atmospheric condition known as volcanic smog or vog." is complicated, and requires multiple steps to make the connection to the idea that water is a solvent. As it passes through the water cycle it dissolves minerals and gases and carries them to the oceans.

Is the phenomenon first-hand (when appropriate or practical) or vicarious through use of video, pictures, or text?

Yes—The phenomenon is first-hand (when appropriate or practical) or vicarious through use of video, pictures, or text.

The series of photos shows gases releasing from the volcano and the erupting cloud of water vapor and sulfur dioxide.

Is the phenomenon efficient, i.e., the benefits justify the costs in time and money?

Yes—The phenomenon is efficient: the benefits justify the costs in time and money.

The photos of volcanic gases and eruption clouds are efficient in time and no cost.

Useful with modification

Notes to teachers

Explain that water is a solvent and that it can dissolve gases. Use this to introduce what is happening in the erupting clouds of this volcano. Point out to students that the greatest amount of gas coming from any volcano is in the form of water vapor.

Display the Resource