Literature Connections for
Convection: A Current Event

Teacher's Guides > Convection: A Current Event

Many of the books are about volcanoes. Volcanoes are connected to convection in the following way: The earth’s crust is fractured into large segments called tectonic plates that move slowly, driven in part by convection currents in the magma they float on. Most volcanoes occur in the places where these big plates collide, rub together or separate.

Books about earthquakes could be connected in the same way, but we haven’t found any.

Look for stories in which convection currents in water or air play a part, including books about sailboats, gliders, or birds. We found two books, one about kites (wind is caused by convection), and another about heat transfer and air conditioning.

Catch the Wind: All About Kites
A Chilling Story: How Things Cool Down
Hill of Fire
Magic Dogs of the Volcanoes
The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth
Paul’s Volcano
Volcano: The Eruption and Healing of Mount St. Helens

Catch the Wind: All About Kites
by Gail Gibbons
Little, Brown & Co., Boston. 1989
Grades: K–6
When two children visit Ike’s Kite Shop they learn about kites and how to fly them. Instructions for building a kite are given. The book relates especially to “Going Further” activities in which students do a thought experiment to determine where the best hang-gliding spot would be.
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A Chilling Story: How Things Cool Down
by Eve and Albert Stwertka; illustrated by Mena Dolobowsky
Julian Messner/Simon & Schuster, New York. 1991
Grades: 4–8
Refrigeration and air conditioning are simply explained, with sections on heat transfer, evaporation, and expansion. Humorous black and white drawings show a family and its cat testing out these principles in their home.
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Hill of Fire
by Thomas P. Lewis; illustrated by Joan Sandin
Harper & Row, New York. 1971
Grades: 2–5
A Mexican villager plowing a field opened up a crack in the earth that erupted within days into a new volcano, Paricutin. While told in simple language, the story is still appropriate for older students who are studying volcanoes and the concept of convection. The power of the volcano and the impact of change are strongly conveyed. The actual 1943 event is described in a historical note. This was only the second time in recorded history that the birth of a volcano has been directly witnessed by humans.
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Magic Dogs of the Volcanoes
by Manlio Argueta; illustrated by Elly Simmons
Children’s Book Press, San Francisco. 1990
Grades: 1–4
When the traditional magic dogs who protect the people of El Salvador, and who live on top of ancient volcanoes, are pursued by soldiers, the volcanoes play a trick. The male volcano fans himself with his steam hat, making the earth hot. The female volcano shakes her dress made of water and makes the soldiers wet so they sizzle and melt. This is an imaginative, multicultural extension to GEMS activities which introduce convection as one of the forces that contribute to volcanic eruption. Text in English and Spanish.
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The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth
by Joanna Cole; illustrated by Bruce Degen
Scholastic, New York. 1987
Grades: K–6
On a special field trip to the center of the earth, Ms. Frizzle’s class learns firsthand about different kinds of rocks and the formation of the earth and its structure. Reading this book would be a good introductory way for interested students to continue exploring topics touched on by the GEMS convection activities, and to begin learning more about the different geological layers and forces at work inside the Earth.
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Paul’s Volcano
by Beatrice Gormley; illustrated by Cat B. Smith
Avon Books, New York. 1987
Grades: 5–8
When Adam and Robbie see Paul’s science fair project, a model of a volcano (complete with smoke and eruption sound track), they decide that it must become the symbol of their new club. The “Vulcans” conduct rituals with the model volcano, chanting their password “Magma, Magma” as they prepare to march in the July 4th parade. But mysterious, dangerous forces seem to be at work. What begins as a playful imitation of legends about people sacrificed to volcanoes turns into a series of unexplained and bizarre events, fear, and a final conflagration. Qualities of leadership and the meaning of accomplishment are explored as the strange events surge like lava down a mountainside. There is some scientific information throughout, including a description of the eruption of Mount St. Helens. In the end, the spirit of friendship triumphs over the evil genie of the volcano.
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Volcano:
The Eruption and Healing of Mount St. Helens
by Patricia Lauber
Bradbury Press, New York. 1986
Grades: 4–7
Photographic account of how and why Mount St. Helens erupted in May 1980 and the destruction it caused. Two chapters discuss the survivors and colonizers, and the plant and animal life that returned to the area. Dormant volcanoes and their mechanics are explained in Chapter 5 with a positive look at the creative effects of an eruption. Although convection is not referred to directly, Chapter 5 includes a good basic introduction to the key topic of plate tectonics.
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