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Life of an Island
In this lesson covers the evolution of a volcanic island from origin to erosion. Students will be able to determine the relative ages of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, given their position in the archipelago and why these islands are so much smaller than the main islands of the Hawaiian chain. They will discover that volcanic islands form over a hot spot on the ocean floor and that islands form and erode in eight stages, so the relative age of an island or atoll can be determined based on its state of growth or erosion.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Intermediate (3-5)
  • Middle (6-8)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Lesson plan
  • Visual:
    • Illustration - scientific
  • Geographical Sciences:
    • Physical geography
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geology
  • Ocean Sciences:
    • Physical oceanography
Technical requirements:
Adobe acrobat reader is needed to use the PDF version of the exercise
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Information presented on these pages is considered public information and may be distributed or copied. Use of appropriate byline/photo/image credits is requested.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-008-570
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • K-4:
      • B - Physical science:
        • Properties of objects and materials
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Changes in earth and sky
        • Properties of earth materials
    • 5-8:
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Earth's history
        • Structure of the earth system
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: University of Hawaii
Laboratory for Interactive Learning Technologies

Author: Bishop Museum