Lesson 7: Hawaii’s Big Island: The Volcanos’ Gifts

The Hawaiian Islands owe their existence to a volcanic hotspot, whose spewings over millions of years have created the archipelago. Host Dave Yetman climbs over old and new lava flows to observe new lands emerging from the ocean. At night manta rays flock to the newly created seafloor of the Kona Coast.

Learning Objective

Students will gain an understanding of volcanic activities and formation in the Hawaiian Islands.

Social Studies Standards

Science, Technology & Society B, E

Discussion Prompts

  • Islands can be formed or created by different forces of nature. Find examples that support or oppose this argument.
  • Extend the discussion about the myth of Madam Pele, the volcano goddess of Hawaii, through different viewpoints: resident of the island, tourist, and scientist.
  • Elaborate on the impact of volcanic activities on three levels: economic, emotional, and geographical.
    What might David Yetman be referring to as the volcano’s gifts?

Lesson Activities

  • Organize and display findings in a chart about other volcanoes actively creating new lands, formations, and economic growth.
  • Create a commercial that will help deter tourists from coming to the island during volcanic activity times.
  • Research geothermic effects of volcanoes in different regions of the world. Use a poster with facts and maps the regions to share findings.
  • Volcanoes are Earth’s geologic architects. Createa drawing or a 3D model of a new landscape that


  • adaptation
  • archipelago
  • crater
  • dormant
  • eruption
  • formation
  • geothermic effect
  • myths
  • tilt
  • volcano