Students research information about Cascade volcanoes in Washington, Oregon, and California, then transfer the information onto the appropriate mobile piece before constructing the mobile "A String of Volcanoes". This lesson plan is part of the "Living with a Volcano in Your Backyard" curriculum, created through a partnership between Mount Rainier National Park and the US Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory.


Students will:
  • Become familiar with important aspects about each of the Cascade volcanoes.
  • Identify sources of information about Cascade volcanoes in Washington, Oregon, and California.



Refer to U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 165-97 for general information about Cascade volcanoes and their locations in the Cascade Range.


Instructions and pieces for students to build "A String of Volcanoes" mobile.


You will need:
  • Crayons or colored pencils
  • USGS Fact Sheet 165-97 (optional), available on the USGS website.
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Internet access or library resources
  • Copies of Student Page: "String of Volcanoes - Instructions"
  • Copies of Student Page: "String of Volcanoes - Mobile Pieces"
  • Kite string or yarn for mobile - 4.3 meters (approximately 14 feet) for single string; 5 meters (approximately 17 feet) for each mobile arrangement
  • 1 paper clip for hanging mobile

Before class begins assemble grade-appropriate resources for student research. Cut string to required lengths.

  1. Provide each student or student group with "String of Volcano - Instructions" student page and "String of Volcano - Mobile Pieces".
  2. Students research information from internet, library resources, or USGS Fact Sheet and write it on volcano mobile pieces before coloring and assembling mobile. Most answers can be found at the U.S. Geologic Survey websites.
  3. Construct the mobile for one, two, or three states using instructions using one of two methods proposed on the student page.



Use A String of Volcanoes as a learning tool, and Volcano Hall of Fame as an assessment of students 'knowledge about important aspects of Cascade volcanoes. After completing these two activities, students should be able to identify important aspects of Cascade volcanoes and identify sources of information. Assess each student's ability to identify important aspects and to record them.

Park Connections

By connecting Mount Rainier National Park to the other volcanoes in the Cascade Range, it's discovered that Mt. Rainier does not stand alone and there is a lot of geologic history to be found throughout the range.


Additional Resources

Dzurisin, D., Stauffer, P., and Hendley, J., 2003, Living with volcanic risk in the Cascades (revised March, 2008):  U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet  165-97, 2p.


Harris, S. L., 2005, Fire mountains of the West: the Cascade and Mono Lake

 volcanoes. Mountain Press Publishing Company, 3rd edition, 454 p.


Tilling, R. I., Topinka, L. and Swanson, D.A., 1990, Eruptions of Mount St. Helens: past, present, and future:  U.S. Geological Survey series of General Interest Publications (revised edition), 57 p.