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15 Amazing Facts About Volcanoes
Volcanoes and earthquakes have filled human beings with fear and fascination since the beginning of time. Read on for many interesting facts about volcanoes, plus some related information about earthquakes.
Kicking off our fun facts about volcanoes is Mauna Loa in Hawaii. This is an effusive volcano, which means that lava flows or pours out rather than erupting violently. The lava can melt, burn and destroy houses, farms, roads and everything else in its path.
Mount St. Helens
When Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, it created over 490 tons of ash that covered 22,000 square miles and affected cities up to 370 miles away.
About 80 percent of volcanoes and earthquakes occur near where two tectonic plates meet.
Yellowstone National Forest
A supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Forest drives the hot springs and other geological activity in the park. Yet Yellowstone’s volcanic activity remains mysterious, as scientists are still exploring the pit of magma known as the Yellowstone Caldera.
How High Can Volcanoes Shoot?
Strong eruptions of volcanoes can shoot debris up to 20 miles into the sky.
The Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano in Tanzania erupts black lava.
Mount Vesuvius was the most dangerous volcano in Europe.
A volcanic eruption in Peru in 1600 caused a volcanic winter.
The Ijen Volcanic Complex in Indonesia oozes blue lava.
Cacophony on Krakatoa
The 1983 eruption on Krakatoa created the loudest sound ever measured.
Bonus Volcano Facts
Bonus round time! Now that you’ve learned some amazing facts, we’ve dug deeper into the earth’s core to deliver another quick 25 facts about volcanoes. Ready, set, go! The Earth’s surface is known as the crust. Plates are the giant cracked pieces of the crust. Magma flows underneath the crust, and is called lava when it is above the surface. The edges of the plates are breeding grounds for volcanoes. Volcanoes can also form on top of mantle plumes, which are extremely hot areas inside the Earth. Over 50 U.S. volcanoes have erupted at least once in the last 200 years. Volcanic ash can cause the engines of airplanes to fail. The root of a volcano can be buried 40 to 120 miles inside the Earth. The central vent is a channel inside the volcano where magma erupts. The lava can flow through a large crack called a fissure in the earth. Temperatures in the mantle can get as hot as 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Natrocarbonatite is a rare type of lava found only in northern Tanzania.
Bonus Facts, Continued
Even more bonus volcano facts ahead! Ancient Aztecs believed that beautiful people were to be thrown into volcanoes as a sacrifice to the gods. The word volcano comes from the Roman god of fire, Vulcan. One in 20 people lives in a danger zone close to a volcano. People live there because the soil is rich and fertile. Maleo birds hatch their eggs using heat from volcanoes. Volcanoes can also be found on the ocean floor. We know of about 80 volcanoes in the ocean. Lava can reach a temperature of 2,282 degrees Fahrenheit. A horseshoe-shaped formation in the Pacific Ocean known as the Ring of Fire contains 90 percent of the world’s volcanoes. Four types of volcanoes exist: cinder cones, shield volcanoes, composite volcanoes and lava volcanoes. There are 1,150 active volcanoes in the world.
The 1960 earthquake in Chile was the most severe of the 10 largest earthquakes recorded.
San Andreas Fault
The San Andreas Fault in California moves about two inches per year.
Good Friday Earthquake
The largest recorded U.S. earthquake was on Good Friday, 1964, in Prince William Sound in Alaska.
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How To Make a Volcano for Kids
Want To See A Volcano Erupt Up Close? Make Volcanoes Erupt In Your Backyard With The Volcano Science Experiment . The best way to help your child learn puzzling acids and base concepts is by conducting a simple volcano experiment for kids at home. A baking soda vinegar volcano is the best way to teach children about the chemical reaction between acids and bases. Help your child learn how to make a volcano for kids.
- Things You Need For The Volcano Science Project
A Step-By-Step Guide On How to Make A Volcano For Kids
The science behind the volcano eruption experiment, 5 creative ways to make a volcano at home.
A volcano science experiment is a great way to help children understand the lesson on acids and bases. Help your child understand the chemical reaction between acids and bases using this simple science experiment for kids at home.
Things You Need For The Volcano Science Project
Making a volcano at home is an easy and fun project to do with your kids. Here is a list of things you need to perform the volcano science project. Most of the materials on the list are inexpensive and easily available. In fact, you might even find them in your pantry.
Things You’ll Need For Volcano Experiment For Kids:
- 100 ml of warm water
- 10 ml of dish soap
- 400 ml of white vinegar
- Empty 2-litre soda bottle
- 2 drops of red food coloring
- Baking soda slurry ( ½ cup baking soda and ½ cup water)
Wondering how to make a homemade volcano? It’s pretty simple. Here is a step-by-step guide to performing the volcano science experiment with your kids.
- Step 1: Mix the dish soap, water, white vinegar, and food coloring and pour it into the empty soda bottle.
- Step 2: Make a baking soda slurry with ½ cup baking soda and ½ cup water. Mix it thoroughly with a spoon, until it’s completely dissolved.
- Step 3: Now, it’s eruption time! Quickly but carefully pour this slurry into the bottle and step back. Now, watch the volcano erupt and spill out red lava!
Download How To Make Volcano Printable
The volcano science experiment will leave your kids in awe as the homemade volcano erupts and spills out red lava. Help them understand the science behind the experiment by asking them questions and giving them hints. Here is a list of questions to help you start.
- What did you learn from the volcano eruption experiment?
- Why do you think the liquid in the soda bottle erupted when you added the baking soda slurry to it?
- How does the volcano science project work?
The homemade volcano erupts because of a chemical reaction between an acid and a base. The acetic acid present in the vinegar reacts with the sodium hydrogen carbonate in the baking soda and produces carbon dioxide. The base (sodium hydrogen carbonate) undergoes a decomposing reaction when it is exposed to the acid. This produces a gas called carbon dioxide, which causes the homemade volcano to “erupt!” The dish soap becomes foamy and the bubbles and spill out like lava.
Do you know there are several ways to make a volcano at home? Now that you know the science behind volcano eruptions, here are 5 more ways to make a volcano at home!
Things you need:
- Tall plastic container
- Baking soda
- Acrylic paints
- Plastic plate
- Step 1: For this baking soda vinegar volcano, tape the top of your tall plastic container to the side of your plastic plate. The plate serves as the base for your volcano. Continue to add tape around your container in this fashion.
- Step 2: Paint your ‘volcano’ with acrylic paint. (We recommend using brown paint)
- Step 3: Once you’re done making your volcano, add a few drops of baking soda and vinegar inside the volcano and watch it erupt! You can add some red food coloring to make the volcano look more realistic with red lava spilling out.
- Plastic wrap
- Small bowls
- Step 1: To build an ice volcano, place a ball (that doesn’t float) at the bottom of each bowl. Line each of these bowls with plastic wrap.
- Step 2: Next, add a mixture of baking soda, water, and food coloring to these bowls so that they completely cover the ball underneath.
- Step 3: Place these bowls in the freezer for some time.
- Step 4: Once they’re frozen, pry out your ‘volcano’ from the bowls and add a few drops of vinegar into it. Your ice volcano will erupt as soon as the vinegar touches it!
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 2 cups vinegar
- Empty plastic bottle
- Red/orange food coloring
Instructions: Want to build a sand volcano in your backyard? Here’s how you can do it.
- Step 1: First, place an empty plastic bottle in a mound of sand.
- Step 2: Use a funnel to add some baking soda to the bottle.
- Step 3: Mix some food coloring and vinegar together and pour this mixture inside the bottle and watch your volcano erupt!
- Red, blue, green, yellow, orange and pink food coloring
Instructions: Here’s how to make a volcano for kids using an egg carton.
- Step 1: Cut out the bottom of each egg holder in your egg carton and flip it over. You’ll notice that each slot now looks like a mini volcano.
- Step 2: Pour some baking soda into each slot.
- Step 3: Then, add some colored vinegar solution (vinegar + food coloring) into the slot. You can create several different colored eruptions in this way. The colorful eruptions will leave your child in awe.
- Large plastic bottle
- Cellulose adhesive
Instructions: Make a volcano at home using newspaper!
- Step 1: First, place a bottle in the middle of your cardboard base. Apply the adhesive paste all over the cardboard and glue the crumpled newspaper over it.
- Step 2: Then, glue the newspaper around your bottle too, and paint the entire structure to ensure it looks like a volcano. Set it aside and allow it to dry for a couple of hours or days.
- Step 3: When it’s ready, ask your child to pour the baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring into the bottle to make the volcano erupt.
We hope you enjoy making these volcano science projects with your little one. These experiments hone their understanding of science and instill in them a sense of creativity and imagination.
For more fun kids learning games and activities, check the rest of our website!
Frequently Asked Questions on How To Make a Volcano for Kids
What are the materials used for making a volcano for kids.
The materials used for making a volcano for kids are luke warm water, white vinegar, soda bottle, dish soap, red coloring solution, and baking soda slurry.
How To Make a Volcano for Kids?
To make volcano for kids, firstly take a soda bottle and mix water, dish soap, food coloring and white vinegar. Then, make baking soda slurry and add slowly to this solution. Let the children watch the volcano erupt and understand the concept of eruption properly.
How to make a Volcano
- 10 ml of dish soap
- 100 ml of warm water
- 400 ml of white vinegar
- Food coloring
- Baking soda slurry (fill a cup about ½ with baking soda, then fill the rest of the way with water)
- Empty 2 liter soda bottle
NOTE: This should be done outside due to the mess.
- Combine the vinegar, water, dish soap and 2 drops of food coloring into the empty soda bottle.
- Use a spoon to mix the baking soda slurry until it is all a liquid.
- Eruption time! … Pour the baking soda slurry into the soda bottle quickly and step back!
WATCH THE QUICK AND EASY VIDEO TUTORIAL!
How it Works:
A chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda creates a gas called carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the same type of gas used to make the carbonation in sodas. What happens if you shake up a soda? The gas gets very excited and tries to spread out. There is not enough room in the bottle for the gas to spread out so it leaves through the opening very quickly, causing an eruption!
1. Does the amount of vinegar change the eruption? 2. Does the amount of water change the eruption? 3. Does the amount of baking soda change the eruption?
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How to Make a Volcano
Last Updated: November 1, 2022 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Bess Ruff, MA . Bess Ruff is a Geography PhD student at Florida State University. She received her MA in Environmental Science and Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2016. She has conducted survey work for marine spatial planning projects in the Caribbean and provided research support as a graduate fellow for the Sustainable Fisheries Group. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 48 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 2,028,496 times.
A volcano is a fun science project, especially for kids. You can easily make a volcano if you need a project idea for a science fair! Make your own dough out of common household items and shape it into a volcano. Then, paint the volcano to make it more life-like, and add your ingredients for the eruption!
Mixing the Dough
- The dough will be hard to mix after a few minutes, so you might want to ask for help from a parent, teacher, or older sibling.
- Make sure to knead the dough on a sturdy surface, such as a table or counter. 4
- Using a rolling pin to flatten and knead the dough may also be helpful.
- If the dough is still dry, add 1 teaspoon of water at a time until it sticks together.
- Be careful not to add too much water or the dough may become sticky!
- If the dough still feels sticky, add 1 more tablespoon of flour and knead. Keep doing this until it feels smooth and does not stick to your hands.
- Don’t add too much flour or the dough will not stick together.
Creating a Volcano Shape
- If you are using a tray, make sure to ask your parent or guardian first. Don’t use one that you might want to use again because attaching your volcano to the tray will ruin it.
- The lid of a cardboard box will also work, but make sure to ask a parent or guardian first!
- Ask for help from an adult or older sibling if the dough is too stiff to shape!
- There are several different types of volcanoes. Some have steeper slopes than others, and some are even flat at the top. You can shape the dough to look like a specific type of volcano, but keep in mind that most will have an uneven surface and won't be completely flat.
- This part can be hard. Ask for help from your parents or someone else with strong hands if you cannot get the cup or jar to go down into the dough.
- Make sure to ask for your parent or guardian’s permission before you use a cup or jar! It will become part of the volcano and you won’t be able to use it again.
- Keep in mind that volcanoes are not perfectly smooth! They are rocky and rough on the outside, so it is okay if your dough is a bit bumpy.
- Remember that you can make your volcano look like a specific type of volcano if you want to get technical, or just make a standard volcano. Search for images of volcanoes on the internet to find 1 that you would like to model your volcano after.
Painting the Volcano
- The clay will feel hard to the touch when it is dry. Check it after about 8 hours by pressing it.
- If the dough is still soft after 8 hours, give it a few more hours to dry.
- Make sure to put down some old newspapers or paper towels before painting to protect your work surface.
- You might also want to put on an old t-shirt.
- Opt for a bright orange for a vivid contrast to your brown or black paint on the outside of the volcano.
- You can make orange paint by mixing equal amounts of red and yellow paint.
- Place the volcano out of the reach of pets, such as up on a high shelf or closed room.
- You can touch the paint to see if it is dry. It will feel tacky if it is wet and smooth if it is dry.
Making the Eruption
- Baking soda is a common household item, so you probably have some.
- Ask a parent or guardian before you use the baking soda.
- Any type of dish soap will work! Use whatever is in your kitchen.
- Make sure to ask for permission from your parent or guardian first!
- If you have orange food coloring, you can also use this to color the lava.
- Don’t add the vinegar until you are ready for the eruption! You can leave the other ingredients in the volcano for as long as you need until you are ready to make the volcano erupt.
- You can pour in extra vinegar if there is still some baking soda in the bottom of the jar.
Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.
- If you don’t want to make your own dough and form a volcano, you can add the eruption ingredients to an empty 2 liter (0.53 US gal) soda bottle. The ingredients will cause a volcano-like eruption out of the top of the soda bottle!  X Research source Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 2
- Ask a parent or guardian for permission before you do this experiment. You may also need help from an adult for some parts of the experiment. Thanks Helpful 15 Not Helpful 7
- Don’t look down into the volcano while it erupts! Thanks Helpful 13 Not Helpful 10
- Stand back after you pour in the vinegar! Thanks Helpful 13 Not Helpful 12
Things You’ll Need
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 cup of salt
- 1 cup of water
- 2 tablespoons of oil
Shaping the Volcano
- A tray or box lid
- A small plastic or glass cup
- Brown paint
- Orange paint
Making the Volcano Erupt
- 2 TBS baking soda
- Red food coloring
- Yellow food coloring
- 1 fluid ounce (30 mL) of white vinegar
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1TL_vpM8Ec&feature=youtu.be&t=16s
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1TL_vpM8Ec&feature=youtu.be&t=1m41s
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1TL_vpM8Ec&feature=youtu.be&t=1m45s
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1TL_vpM8Ec&feature=youtu.be&t=2m19s
- ↑ https://www.playosmo.com/kids-learning/how-to-make-a-volcano-for-kids/
- ↑ https://happybrownhouse.com/simple-science-how-to-make-a-volcano-with-kids/
- ↑ http://www.sciencefun.org/kidszone/experiments/how-to-make-a-volcano/
- ↑ https://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-and-experiments/build-your-own-volcano
About This Article
To make your own volcano out of dough, start by adding 3 cups of flour (360 grams) and 1 cup of salt (273 grams) to a large bowl. Then, mix in 1 cup of water (240 milliliters) and 2 tablespoons of oil (30 milliliters). Once the dough is too stiff to keep stirring, shape it into a ball with your hands, and press it into the center of a tray or piece of cardboard. Then, gently shape and mold the dough until it looks like a mountain. You can complete your volcano by pressing a small glass cup or jar into the center of the mountain, which will make the "mouth" of the volcano. When you're done, let the dough dry overnight. Then, paint your volcano brown and black, with yellow and red accents near the opening to look like lava. To make your volcano explode, pour 2 tablespoons of baking soda (14 grams) into the mouth of the volcano. Add 1 teaspoon of dish soap (5 milliliters), and a few drops of red and yellow food coloring to make the foam look like lava. Finally, pour 2 tablespoons of vinegar (30 milliliters) into the opening and wait for the volcano to erupt! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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How to make a volcano
Volcanic eruptions are one of the most powerful natural forces on our planet.
Making your own miniature erupting volcano is a great, safe way to start learning about these incredible geological features.
Watch the video above to find out how to make a volcano model from household items, then stand back and watch it erupt.
Read on for written instructions and to discover more about volcanoes.
How to make an erupting volcano model
For the volcano model:.
- Two A3 sheets of card
- 200 ml plastic bottle
- Paint and paintbrushes
For the eruption:
- 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 tbsp washing up liquid
- 2 tbsp water
- ½ cup vinegar
- 1 tbsp red food colouring
1. Place your bottle upside down in the centre of a sheet of card and draw a small circle around the neck.
2. Cut a straight line through the card to the middle of the circle, and cut it out.
In the middle of the card, draw around the bottleneck and cut out the circle
3. Overlap the two sides of the card to make a cone shape. Tape this into place, leaving a hole where you cut out the circle. Cut around the base of the cone so that it sits flat, but make sure that it is still taller than your bottle.
4. Place the cone over the bottle. Tape the top of the paper cone to the neck of the bottle to hold it in place. Tape the base of the cone to the other sheet of card.
5. Use paint to decorate the cone and make it look like a volcano. Allow your model to fully dry.
Cut away the card at the base of the cone so that it sits flat
6. In a bowl, combine the bicarbonate of soda and washing up liquid. Add the water and mix thoroughly. Pour this mixture into your volcano.
7. In a cup, mix together the vinegar and food colouring.
8. When you're ready, pour the vinegar into the bottle with the bicarbonate. Wait for it to erupt and watch how the lava flows.
9. Experiment with different amounts of bicarbonate and vinegar and see how the volcano's eruption changes.
Stand back and watch your volcano erupt
Take care when handling the eruption ingredients and stand back when watching the eruption to make sure you don't get any in your eyes. Make sure you are working in a well ventilated area.
To make cleaning up easier, it's best to stand your model on a wipe-clean surface.
What is a volcano?
Rather than being one solid surface, Earth's crust and the uppermost parts of the mantle (together called the lithosphere) are broken into several tectonic plates that float over the asthenosphere. This is a deeper layer of rock that is a solid but flows very slowly.
This slow process moves the plates further apart (divergent boundary) or closer together (convergent boundary), or causes them to slide past each other (transform boundary).
Volcanoes typically form at divergent and convergent boundaries, but are also seen in hot spots in the middle of tectonic plates.
Mount Fuji is one of the world's most famous active volcanoes. It last erupted in the early 1700s and is located about 100 kilometres from Japan's capital city, Tokyo, although some smaller cities sit much closer. © Marion & Christoph Aistleitner via Wikimedia Commons ( CC0 )
Volcanoes are an opening of the Earth's crust through which molten rock, gases and ash can escape. This mixture of materials is called magma while it's underground, lava when it is erupted and igneous rock once it's cooled and solidified on the surface.
Volcanoes are typically high ground or mountains, sometimes with very steep sides made from the magma that erupted.
Types of volcano
Volcanoes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, primarily caused by the different types of magma, but also by how volcanoes behave and where they're located.
Stratovolcanoes are the most common and perhaps most recognisable type of volcano. Stratovolcanoes are steep-sloped and cone-shaped. They are also known as composite volcanoes.
They mostly produce explosive eruptions and are most commonly associated with convergent plate boundaries. Their lava is sticky (viscous), which means that it doesn't usually spread too far before cooling on the surface, giving the volcano a tall and cone-shaped profile.
Mount St Helens, a stratovolcano in the United States, famously erupted in May 1980. An explosive lateral blast occurred when a strong earthquake caused a massive landslide that collapsed the northern face of the mountain. This reduced pressure and allowing the volcano to explode from its side. © Harry Glicken , USGS/CVO via Wikimedia Commons
The violent 79 AD eruption of the still-active stratovolcano Mount Vesuvius in Italy is regarded as the deadliest in European history. It may have killed more than 16,000 people in total.
Several settlements were destroyed by its pyroclastic flow, the most famous being the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. Pyroclastic flow is a very hot mixture of ash, gases and other volcanic materials that moves at high speed along the flank of the volcano.
This was a Plinian eruption, with jets of magma and gases emerging from the volcano at high speeds. These types of eruptions can last for several days and cause a plume of superheated ash and gas that can expand and reach a height of 55 kilometres.
Stromboli is another of Italy's active stratovolcanoes, but it behaves differently to Vesuvius. This island volcano has been exhibiting a pattern of eruption for 2,000 years. Mildly explosive blasts of magma - called fire fountains - consistently occur from a few minutes to a few hours apart. This type of eruption is known as strombolian and is exhibited by other volcanoes around the world, such as by Mount Erebus in Antarctica.
A gouache painting by Mauton of Mount Vesuvius erupting in 1836. Image courtesy of Wellcome Collection , Public Domain
Shield volcanoes are generally not as tall as stratovolcanoes, although they can still reach great heights. Olympus Mons is a shield volcano on the planet Mars . It's the largest volcano in the solar system at around 25 kilometres tall and 624 metres in diameter.
A shield volcano's eruptions are usually gentle and non-explosive and are instead known for their lava flows and fountains. Shield volcanoes have runny lava (low viscosity) that travels further than the stickier lava of stratovolcanoes. This flowing lava results in the far-reaching, gently sloping sides of these volcanoes.
Mauna Kea is a dormant shield volcano in Hawaii. Its peak is the highest point in the state of Hawaii, at 4,207 metres above sea level © Nula666 via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Shield volcanoes are typically located on hot spots found across tectonic plates rather than at the boundaries. The best known are the Hawaiian volcanoes such as Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea and Kīauea.
Other volcanoes around the world also exhibit gentle Hawaiian eruptions. This type of eruption can produce lava fountains that can be hundreds of metres tall and travel at speeds of up to 100 metres per second.
Cinder cones are relatively small volcanoes made from loose volcanic material. Most are short-lived and can grow on the sides of larger volcanoes. They typically form through an explosive eruption or lava fountain from a single vent.
One of the best known is Parícutin, a volcano that suddenly formed in a cornfield in Michoacán, Mexico, beginning in 1943. Due to its continuous strombolian eruptions, the volcano grew until its eruptions ceased in 1952. It had reached 300 metres tall.
Parícutin was the first time that volcanologists were able to document the full life cycle of a volcano.
The cinder cone volcano, Parícutin, erupting in 1943 © Bodil Christensen via Wikimedia Commons
The largest and most explosive volcanoes on Earth are popularly called supervolcanoes , although this isn't a scientifically defined type of volcano. These enormous volcanoes produce giant calderas - volcanic craters formed by the collapse of the volcano itself when the magma chamber below was emptied by an eruption.
One of the most famous is Yellowstone in the United States, which has a caldera around 72 by 55 kilometres. The Yellowstone supervolcano last erupted around 630,000 years ago.
The Yellowstone supervolcano is well known for its geothermal activity in the form of hot springs, fumaroles and geysers
There are around 20 known supervolcano sites around the world. The most recent supereruption was of Taupo volcano in New Zealand around 26,500 years ago.
The eruption of the Indonesian supervolcano Toba around 73,000 years ago is also thought to have triggered a drop of 2-3 degrees Celsius in air temperature globally, causing a five- to seven-year volcanic winter. This eruption may have had an profound impact on the course of the human species.
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more in Experiments
Make your own volcano.
Check out the GIANT version!
You will need
- A volcano – Talk to an art teacher about how to make a volcano out of paper mache or plaster. You can also use clay or if you’re in a hurry to make your volcano, use a mound of dirt outside.
- A container that 35mm film comes in, and old pill bottle, a baby food jar, or similar size container.
- Red and yellow food coloring (optional)
- Liquid dish washing soap
- Go outside or prepare for some clean-up inside
- Put the container into the volcano at the top
- Add two spoonfuls of baking soda
- Add about a spoonful of dish soap
- Add about 5 drops each of the red and yellow food coloring
Now for the eruption!: Add about an ounce of the vinegar into the container and watch what your volcano come alive.
A VOLCANO is produced over thousands of years as heat a pressure build up. That aspect of a volcano is very difficult to recreate in a home experiment. However this volcano will give you an idea of what it might look like when a volcano erupts flowing lava. This is a classic experiment in which a CHEMICAL reaction can create the appearance of a PHYSICAL volcano eruption. You should look at pictures of volcanoes to be familiar with the different types. (A SHIELD volcano, for example is the most common kind of volcano, and yet few people know about them) The reaction will bubble up and flow down the side like a real volcano (only much faster!) Look for videos of volcanoes erupting and be sure that you understand how heat and pressure work to really make volcanoes erupt.
MAKE IT AN EXPERIMENT
The project above is a DEMONSTRATION. To make it a true experiment, you can try to answer these questions:
1. Does vinegar temperature affect how fast the volcano erupts? 2. Does the shape of the volcano affect the direction the eruption travels? 3. What can be added to the “lava” to slow it down and make it more like real lava? 4. What combination of vinegar and baking soda creates the biggest eruption?
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1. Learn about volcanoes
2. prepare your crater, 3. make your volcano erupt, 4. form the lava flow, 6. make more eruptions, 7. trade your volcano, 8. take core samples, 9. record your findings, 10. compare your map.
Make a Volcano
Make a volcano with baking soda, vinegar and play dough. Then, add multiple layers that you can investigate like a NASA scientist. Test your family and friends to see if they can guess what's inside your volcano!
Watch the Tutorial
See below for materials and step-by-step instructions. For more video tutorials and activities like this one, visit Learning Space .
Watch en Español : Seleccione subtítulos en Español bajo el ícono de configuración.
In this episode of Learning Space, you will make a volcano with baking soda, vinegar and play dough. Then, add multiple layers that you can investigate like a NASA scientist. | Watch on YouTube
Piece of cardboard OR a cookie sheet
3 or more colors of play dough ( download recipe ) or soft clay
Colored pencils OR crayons (ideally matching the colors of the play dough)
2 sheets of graph paper OR plain paper
1-3 clear plastic drinking straws
Find out how volcanoes form and what causes them to erupt . Then click the planets in this interactive image to learn about volcanoes on planets throughout our solar system. Get inspired before you create your own volcano by checking out these images of volcanoes on Earth .
› Learn more about this image
Cut off the top of the paper cup so it's only about 0.5 inches (1-2 cm) tall. Place the paper cup at the center of your piece of paper and trace around the bottom to make a circle. The circle and the cup represent the crater inside your volcano. Tape the cup to the piece of cardboard or a cookie sheet. Mark north, east, south and west on both the paper and the cardboard or cookie sheet.
Fill the cup with a spoonful of baking soda. Then, slowly pour in enough vinegar to make the mixture foam up and flow out of the cup. This simulates an eruption and lava flowing out of your volcano.
If possible, use a colored pencil to trace around the edge of where the lava flew out of your volcano. Dab up the fluid with a paper towel. Then, cover the area inside the line you traced with a thin layer of one color of play dough to mark where the lava flowed.
On your graph paper, use a colored pencil that matches the color of the play dough you put down to draw the shape of your lava layer. This is the start of a map that will show where lava flowed during each eruption of the model volcano. Be sure the orientation of the cardinal directions on your map match the ones on your model volcano.
Repeat steps 3-5 three or four more times. Each time, put down a new layer of play dough and then map it out by drawing the shape of that layer on your graph paper. If you have more than one color of play dough, change colors between eruptions so it's easier to see the different layers.
If possible, trade your volcano with another person, so you can investigate one that is unknown! If you can't trade with anyone, find a family member who didn’t watch you build the volcano and challenge them to do the next steps.
Cut a plastic straw into thirds or fourths. Push an open end of the straw straight down through the play dough lava flows until you reach the bottom. Twist the straw in place and lift out a sample. This is what's called a core sample.
Looking through the clear straw, you can see the layers underneath the surface of the volcano. You can use this sample to investigate how the layers of the volcano formed over time. Repeat this step with each of your three or four straw pieces. Think about the best places to collect samples so that you can get as much information as possible.
On a blank piece of graph paper, draw a circle and cardinal directions like you did in Step 2. Use your core samples to make a prediction of where each layer of the volcano you’re studying begins and ends.
Then, use colored pencils that match the colors you find in the volcano to draw the layers on your graph paper. Try to get as close as you can with as few samples as possible!
Once you’ve created a map of your predictions, compare it with the known map from steps 2-6.
Exploding Volcano Activity: Get Your Little Scientist Thinking Big
In our centers, the classic “explode-y volcano” experiment (ahem, that’s the technical term) gets little minds thinking big: About the form and function of actual volcanoes (a hole in a mountain that burps lava, ash, and hot gas) as well as what our planet looked and felt like when dinosaurs roamed. We also explore scientific concepts like cause and effect: Mix vinegar with baking soda and you get a natural (and non-toxic) chemical reaction—plus bubbles galore! Turn your own kitchen into a lab with this easy volcano how-to:
- Baking soda
- White vinegar
- Food coloring (orange or red—and optional)
- Baking sheet
- A cup or measuring cup with a spout
- Spoon or dropper
- Aprons or shirts that can get dirty, and dish towels for clean-up
There She Blows!
- Put a pile of baking soda on the baking sheet.
- Put a small amount of vinegar in the cup and add a drop or two of food coloring.
- Have your child use the spoon or eye dropper to drop (or just pour) a little vinegar solution onto a pile of baking soda and watch your volcano erupt!
Let Your Imagination Roar
Build a mountain: For longer-lasting fun, build a volcano base using a bottle and a simple playdough recipe —you can even paint the slopes once it’s dry. Our volcano hack-of-the-day: Try an upside-down funnel over a pile of baking soda. Boom. Volcano.
Suds up your lava flow: The chemical reaction of baking soda and vinegar produces carbon dioxide gas, which, by the way, is also a byproduct of real volcanoes. Adding a squirt of dishwashing liquid to your concoction traps the gas and changes your “lava” flow. Check out these detailed instructions .
Make a dino diorama: Dot your baking sheet with plastic dinosaurs and get them in on the fun!
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