Due to technical and resource limitations, access to this website will end on November 1, 2022. Contact Selena Connealy: connealy@epscor.unm.edu.

Over a million years ago a supervolcano exploded in northern New Mexico, sending over 300 cubic kilometers of ash into the atmosphere and leaving behind a crater over 12 miles in diameter. This extraordinary crater is called the Valles Caldera and in the year 2000 became the Valles Caldera National Preserve. (www.vallescaldera.gov). In the DVD, Valles Caldera: The Science, you'll see how scientists use the Valles Caldera as a natural learning laboratory for research on the impacts of fire, to study the fascinating volcanic geology, and to learn more about how climate change will impact the Southwest. The website, Teacher’s Guide to the Valles Caldera: The Science, will connect teachers and students to the research taking place in the Valles Caldera and help them uncover the crosscutting concepts that drive the Earth's systems. The units on the website include: Fire, Climate Change and Geology

Valles Caldera: The Science: The Science opening sequence.
Published on Oct 30, 2012

Valles Caldera

Broxton, P. (January 2008). Valles Caldera elevation map. Surface Hydrology Website. Retrieved 5 Aug 13, from http://aspen.hwr.arizona.edu/~surface/fieldsites/valles.html.

Valles Caldera: The Science: 

Click Here to buy the Valles Caldera: The Science DVD

Video Overview

"There is a super volcano in New Mexico that can be seen from space. It is one of the most scientifically important volcanoes on the planet. It is the ancient homeland of the Jemez Pueblo Indians and it is the source of modern day political turmoil. It is known as the Valles Caldera. Brought to you by an award winning team of filmmakers, this trilogy centers on the Valles Caldera National Preserve in the high mountains of northern New Mexico. The preserve is situated inside a collapsed crater surrounded by eruptive domes and features the 11,254 ft Redondo Peak." (from the DVD jacket of Valles Caldera: The Science, 2011)

Viewing Ideas

The best scenario for viewing Valles Caldera: The Science is to show the entire video to your class and then use the specific video clips that are featured with the individual units (Fire, Climate Change, and Geology) to reinforce the unit's labs and activities.


Teacher's Guide Workshops

Upcoming workshops where The Teachers Guide to Valles Caldera:The Science will be presented.

    Author's Bio

    Rhonda Spidell didn't start out to be a science teacher, but her love of learning and fascination with the world around her led Rhonda on a serendipitous journey from Art Education to the nation's capital as an Einstein Fellow at NSF in the Geoscience Directorate (2005). Along the way she received two masters' degrees with one in Elementary Education with Middle School Science Education in 1979 from Georgia State and Master's of Science Teaching from New Mexico Tech in 2000. Throughout her career Rhonda took advantage of every opportunity including: traveling to Australia and New Zealand on sabbatical to study the Earth's systems; serving on the National Research Council's National Science Standards Committee (1991-1994), attending fellowships at Princeton and in Japan (JFMF 2007); and becoming a Presidential Awardee of Excellence in Math and Science Teaching in 2005. After spending 40 years teaching middle school in Georgia and New Mexico, Rhonda Spidell retired from Albuquerque Academy and is now working as a Science Education Consultant. Rhonda's interest in the Jemez Mountains began in 1965 when she was a camp cook and counselor at the Jemez Mountains; Rhonda has hiked, biked, and skied the mountains and valley ever since. The documentary, Valles Caldera: The Science, captures the allure of the Jemez Mountains and creating a Teacher's Guide for the documentary was an excellent opportunity to show the interconnectedness of the Earth and its systems using one our country's majestic landscapes.


    I was fortunate that the scientists featured in the Teachers' Guide to Valles Caldera: The Science were eager to help by contributing information about themselves and their research. Most of the scientists were a part of the NM EPSCoR project that involved scientists and colleges from around the state of New Mexico in a collaborative effort to look at the impact of Climate Change on New Mexico's mountain sources of water. NM EPSCoR offered their support and expertise in website development by organizing the structure of the website and adding countless links and images. The project investigators (PIs) and their support staff helped to guide the process and distribute information about the website at workshops for teachers held around the state. Thank you all!