Aug 27: Make volcano cupcakes

Volcano cupcakes. Delicious and deadly.

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Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story.

Talking points

Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.

  • The Auckland volcanic field has erupted at least 53 times in an estimated 250,000 years. In your opinion, is this a lot, or not that much? Are there other parts of New Zealand where people live right beside volcanoes? Do you think we take a reasonable risk building cities in a place like this, or is it crazy? (To help you consider this, it might help to know that Rangitoto is the youngest volcano, forming about 600 years ago, and Maungarei/Mt Wellington is the next youngest, forming about 10,000 years ago.)
  • An isthmus is a narrow strip of land, surrounded by two bodies of water and connecting two larger land masses. What are the two bodies of water on either side of the Auckland isthmus? What are the larger land masses that are on either end of it? Do you know how long it takes to walk from one side to the other of the Auckland isthmus to the other?
  • Looking at the picture of the lava cave with people standing in it, are you surprised to learn that there are 17 lava caves in the suburb of Three Kings alone, and many more within the Auckland area? Can you put into your own words the process by which lava caves are created? Why do you think most of these are closed to the public? Should they be?
  • The Auckland Volcanic Field pops like a pot of porridge. Each time a vent opens up in a volcanic explosion, it closes afterward, so the magma pops in a different place the next time. How might this reassure someone who is visiting an Auckland volcano? How might it provide a challenge for scientists?
  • At the end of the article, it’s emphasised that even in a big eruption like the one that formed Rangitoto, only part of Auckland’s population would need to evacuate, not the whole city. How do you think citizens would be supported if they were required to evacuate? In the sidebar with the title “Flashover,” what do you learn about how things like ash, lava and rockfall affect a city’s infrastructure?

Language Focus

“Ice ages sap Auckland of its warmth. More than once, a strange white ash sweeps in from rhyolite detonations around Taupō. Local rivers, and even the Waikato, change course with the ease of rainwater down an umbrella. Within that same time span the Auckland isthmus pops and boils like a pot of porridge.”

  1. What does the verb “sap” suggest happened to Auckland’s warmth in the ice ages?
  2. Find two adjectives in the second sentence and explain their effect.
  3. What is the metaphor used to explain waterflow in the third sentence?
  4. What language features is used to create an image in the fourth sentence?
  5. Why do you think the writer uses a series of shorter sentences in this paragraph?

Answers: 1. It disappeared quickly. 2. Strange, white…these adjectives make it sound spooky. 3. “the ease of rainwater down an umbrella.” 4. A simile. 5. The short sentences give the writing the feeling of a list so that we feel we are learning about all the different events of the volcanic field. This emphasises time passing.

Activity: Volcano cupcakes

Get your volcano-inspired craft on with one of these ideas

Option 1: Make volcano cupcakes

Bake cupcakes with a recipe of your choice. Decorate with red and yellow “lava” icing.

Option 2: Paint with straws to make an erupting volcano

Paint a cone in dark colours and place globules of red and yellow paint at the top of the cone.

Use a straw to blow directly onto the globules of paint and push it upwards out of the cone.

Send us a picture of your volcano!