NGSS ESS2.A Tonga Eruption Earth Materials Systems Claim Evidence Reasoning


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Students learn How the Tongan Eruption Happened through a C.E.R. (Claim Evidence Reasoning) graphic organizer. This is great for getting your students to explain phenomena in a meaningful way and it allows you as the instructor to adequately assess their understanding of concepts. The students figure out what the “Claim” is in the article, they then use data that supports the claim in the “Evidence” section, draw visual evidence and then explain why the evidence supports the claim in the “Reasoning” section. 

In addition, this resource includes a 5 minute National Geographic Video on Volcanos with guided notes to help scaffold the lesson.

This resource includes the following:

-4 different reusable graphic organizers, both hard copy and google ready

-Article about the eruption

-Anchor Charts to scaffold how to do the C.E.R.

-C.E.R. Teacher Tips

-Video with guided notes both hard copy and Google Ready

The article has the following concepts:

Tectonic Plates

Pacific Plate

Ring of Fire

Australian Tectonic Plate




Volcanic Explosivity Index

Pyroclastic Flow


Shield Volcanoes


Mid Ocean Ridges


Tsunami waves

Take a look at my CER Mega bundle!

This is great for a current event, sub plan, homework, critical thinking, scaffolding and/or reinforcement of concepts!

You get a CER graphic organizer, an editable key, the article, tips for CER, a link to make it Google Ready, and the link to the website in the article.

NGSS Standards:

Middle School

Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process. MS-ESS2-1

ESS2.A:  Earth Materials and Systems

All Earth processes are the result of energy flowing and matter cycling within and among the planet’s systems. This energy is derived from the sun and Earth’s hot interior. The energy that flows and matter that cycles produce chemical and physical changes in Earth’s materials and living organisms. (MS-ESS2-1)

High School:

ESS2.A:  Earth Materials and Systems

Earth’s systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes. (HS-ESS2-2)

Evidence from deep probes and seismic waves, reconstructions of historical changes in Earth’s surface and its magnetic field, and an understanding of physical and chemical processes lead to a model of Earth with a hot but solid inner core, a liquid outer core, a solid mantle and crust.

Motions of the mantle and its plates occur primarily through thermal convection, which involves the cycling of matter due to the outward flow of energy from Earth’s interior and gravitational movement of denser materials toward the interior. (HS-ESS2-3)

ESS2.B:  Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions

The radioactive decay of unstable isotopes continually generates new energy within Earth’s crust and mantle, providing the primary source of the heat that drives mantle convection. Plate tectonics can be viewed as the surface expression of mantle convection. (HS-ESS2-3)

Engaging in Argument from Evidence:

In 9–12 builds on K–8 experiences and progresses to using appropriate and sufficient evidence and scientific reasoning to defend and critique claims and explanations about the natural and designed world(s). Arguments may also come from current scientific or historical episodes in science.

CCC1: Patterns

Observed patterns of forms and events guide organization and classification, and they prompt questions about relationships and the factors that influence them.

Cause and Effect

• Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects. (HS-LS3-1), (HS-LS3-2)

Energy and Matter

• The total amount of energy and matter in closed systems is conserved. (HS-ESS2-6)

• Energy drives the cycling of matter within and between systems. (HS-ESS2-3)

Structure and Function

• The functions and properties of natural and designed objects and systems can be inferred from their overall structure, the way their components are shaped and used, and the molecular substructures of its various materials. (HS-ESS2-5)

Stability and Change

• Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable. (HS-ESS2-7)

• Feedback (negative or positive) can stabilize or destabilize a system. (HS-ESS2-2)


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