Volcano Lore and Legend


The power and devastation of volcanoes ensures their place within the mythology of many cultures throughout history. Create a visual portrait of a volcano legend.


1. Review basic information about the different types of volcanoes and the dangers associated with each type, such as landslides, gases, tephra (solid material shot into the air), lahars (moving fluid mass of debris and water), as well as lava and pyroclastic flows. Then turn your attention to the literary portrayal of volcanoes over time and through cultures.

2. Begin to research mythical characters like Vulcan, Hephaestus, and Pele. Explore various Native American traditions surrounding the mountains of Rainer, St. Helens, and Crater Lake.

3. Create a visual image of the volcano as portrayed in literature. Perhaps show Kilauea, home of Pele; or Louwala-Clough, the smoky mountain of the Northwest. Illustrate the appropriate type of volcano as well as a related danger to render in Crayola Model Magic® modeling compound. Use a small armature such as a film canister if you like.

4. Texturize the surface of your mountain with toothpicks or other modeling tools. Blend colors halfway to get the look of a marbleized magma flow. Pull edges to create wispy effects. Air-dry the volcano for 3 days.

5. Present information about the mythical origins of the sculpted volcanoes to classmates.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Crayola Modeling Materials including Crayola Model Magic®, and Model Magic Fusion™, Crayola Air-Dry Clay, and Crayola Dough—

  • Keep away from open flames. Do not use to make candleholders, hot plates, trivets, or other similar objects that will be used or placed near fire and other heat sources.
  • Do not put in an oven, microwave, or kiln.
  • Do not make into vessels/containers that will hold unpackaged food.
  • The use of modeling material to make items that look like food is discouraged for children younger than age 5 to avoid their confusion with real food.
  • Unless sealed with a water-resistant glaze, do not make projects exposed to or immersed in water, such as boats or outdoor bird feeders. They would disintegrate when exposed to moisture.
  • Crayola Dough—contains gluten (wheat flour) as an ingredient.
  • Crayola Air-Dry Clay, Crayola Model Magic and Model Magic Fusion are gluten-free. However, they are produced on the same machinery as Crayola Dough which does contain gluten. Although the machines are cleaned prior to the start of each production run, there is a slight possibility that trace amounts of gluten from Crayola Dough may be present in the other modeling compound products. For information regarding specific ingredients or allergic concerns, please call our Consumer Affairs department at 1-800-272-9652 weekdays between 9 AM and 4 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Wood—By its nature, wood is rough and may contain splinters or sharp points


  • Create accompanying label copy and display class’ examples together for an overview of the research.
  • Read several first-person accounts of historic eruptions. Discuss ways that these accounts have changed throughout history.
  • How are volcanoes depicted in art? How are they used as symbolic devices? For cultures that do not live near volcanoes, how are volcanoes portrayed? How are volcanoes portrayed in contemporary culture, such as movies, television, or adventure stories?
  • Assessment: Did students create the correct type of volcano for the area and volcano tradition portrayed? Can students describe at least three volcano stories from different cultures and time periods?

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Model Magic®
household supplies
  • toothpicks - wooden
  • empty plastic film canisters



  • Grades 4 to 6
  • Grades 7 to 12


  • Language Arts
  • Science
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Multiple Sessions


  • Students study volcanoes from language arts, science, and historical perspectives.

  • Students compare the portrayal of volcanoes in myth with scientific explanations.

  • Students sculpt a realistic volcano as portrayed in myths or traditions and present their findings orally to the class.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards