Last week, two students had the idea to build a volcano. This week we followed up on that plan by making one out of paper mâché and wire, painting it red “like lava”. It then became a prop for dramatic play—this is the dinosaur’s birthday cake volcano!
After building the volcano, some of the kids wanted to make lava come out of it. We watched a video on volcanoes, and learned that the force of rocks pushing together can make melted rocks deep inside the earth (lava) push through cracks and tunnels in the earth to form mountain-like volcanoes. We’ve done the baking soda and vinegar experiment a few times and still many of the kids often call it water, so this time we decided to let them decide what to use to make the pretend lava. They decided on soap and water, adding things like rocks and sand to build pressure and make the volcano erupt. They did eventually fill it so full that the water overflowed, turning red as it went down the painted sides. On the whole the experiment seemed very satisfying for all involved, none of whom mentioned that it looked any different from the baking soda and vinegar. It was interesting to see that the kids really applied what they had learned from the video to “build pressure” and ultimately even took over the project themselves, which wouldn’t have happened had we simply started with baking soda and vinegar.