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A New Take on the Erupting Volcano

A New Take on the Erupting Volcano

Isaac loves volcanoes so last week we took a classic science experiment and gave it a twist. The boys were inspired by a page out of a book from the library that showed the different types of volcanoes. So we gathered our materials (plastic bottles, water, dish soap, food coloring, baking soda and vinegar), decided on the types of volcanoes we wanted to erupt and got to work.  

Volcano Planning Session

Planning Session

I love that this was completely self directed. Here they are discussing how they can use different size bottles to mimic the different shapes of certain volcanic craters.

conical volcano

Isaac decided that the top of a small bottle most resembled a cinder (conical) volcano. Max flipped the top of a larger bottle upside down to create a caldera effect. 


After giving each variation a dose of vinegar and watching them erupt (onto a baking sheet sitting on a table sitting with a plastic tarp on the floor-I'm no fool) we headed outside to work on our finale. Using a single-hole punch we punched holes into a plastic water bottle, inserted some bendy straws and piled up some mud. The result was a nice looking composite volcano complete with side vents, vegetation and unsuspecting dinosaurs!

Composite volcano skeleton
composite volcano with hidden side vents
Dinos on volcano
Dino and side vent

Add a little vinegar...


And watch it go!



The "lava" flowing out of the side vents made things interesting! We never knew which vent was going to erupt!

Side vent in action

This experiment entertained us for quite a while! We dug up our bottle, filled it
with fresh "ingredients" and rebuilt our mud volcano until we ran out of baking soda!
Easy, fun and educational-the triple threat of homeschooling!

Lava "Recipe"
Enough warm water to fill your container halfway
Generous squeeze of dish soap
A few drops of food coloring
Two-ish tablespoons of baking soda
Vinegar (added when you're ready for your volcano to erupt)

The Patchwork Path

The Patchwork Path

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