I Survived the Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980

Teaching Ideas and Book Unit Samples for I Survived the Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980

Weeks go by. Mount St Helens sends up puffs of steam. The police block the road leading up to the mountain. After about two months, Mount St Helens has calmed down. The roadblock is removed. Mr. Rowan wants to go back to his fishing cabin to get the fishing pole that he left behind. Jess is excited that she now has a way to get her father’s camera before her mom finds out that she took it.

When Jess and the boys reach the shack, they find the camera intact. Jess packs the camera safely in her backpack. As they leave the shack, Jess smells sulfur. Because of Dr. Morales’s information, she knows Mount St Helens is about to erupt. In just seconds, they hear a loud Kaboom!

Students will beg to read ‘just one more chapter’ with this book. 

FREE Teaching Ideas for
I Survived the Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980

Activity #1 




Activity #2

Lauren Tarshis’s website offers several free activities to use with the book. Each of these links goes to DOC files that can be edited to meet the needs of your students.

Activity #3

The USGS website provides a number of pages for student research. This page gives information on five volcanoes in the Cascade Range for students to compare and contrast. Have students answer these questions:

  • Which volcano is the highest in elevation?
  • Order the volcanoes based on when they last erupted from least to most recent.
  • What type of eruption did each volcano have? How do scientists know this?
  • What do you notice about the location of these volcanoes? Why are they arranged in this manner?

Activity #4

Read ‘Ten Interesting Facts . . . Volcanoes‘ at Book Units Teacher. Download the free foldable organizer for students to complete as they learn about volcanoes. Students answer five questions as they complete the organizer.

  1. Describe how volcanic eruptions are measured.
  2. Where are volcanoes likely to be found?
  3. What happens when volcanic eruptions take place?
  4. Describe each type of volcano listed – shield, lava dome, composite, cinder cones.
  5. What are active, dormant, and extinct volcanoes?

An answer key is provided. 

Free Foldable Organizer for Students to Learn about Volcanoes

Activity #5

I Survived the Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980 Book Unit

If you would like to try out the I Survived the Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980 Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples including:

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-2
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2 
  • Constructed Response Question for Chapters 1-2 
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like


I Survived the Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980 Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook. Vocabulary, comprehension, constructed response writing, and skill practice are all included. Printable and digital versions are available.


Gay Miller



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