Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Not a new idea...but it never seems to get old!

A long time ago I talked about a science project we were working on. Making a salt-flour volcano was that project. We started it way back at the beginning of January, and we just now finished it. We mixed the material and formed the volcano on one day. Then we waited for it to dry for a week or so. After it was dry we spent an afternoon painting it. Then we let it sit for a month before we "erupted it" this afternoon. Caroline is sitting on the floor beside me looking at the volcano book we got from the library...I'm sure she understands why we have the book and is reading about what kind of volcano we created. I'll let her post all about the reaction of baking soda and vinegar tomorrow. Seriously, even though the kids don't understand all about chemical reactions--and they can't tell the difference between a shield and cone volcano--this is a project that they love start to finish. And someday when they DO understand all these concepts, they'll remember this long ago project and make the correlation. And, in theory, it should make understanding come easier and learning later in life fun. Yadda, yadda. (read: something to do on long rainy winter days that involves two toddlers and makes mommy feel like she's doing a good job at the same time).
Day One: Math & Home Economics--mixing the dough and forming the volcano.
They love to measure and stir.
We used a glass juice bottle from Trader Joe's for the center of our volcano (you have to have a container in the center to pour the baking soda and vinegar into).

We added some trees to the landscape while the dough was soft. Plan on a week or more for drying time--unless you spread the dough quite thin.
Day 2: Art!
Paint the volcano.

I love those pudgy little hands with the paint brush.

I left the kids for five minutes while they were painting and they started tearing the volcano apart. The dough had gotten soft from soaking up the paint and they were able to peel chunks off and throw them at each other. What a mess. I got frustrated and this is probably the reason I let the project sit for so long before finishing it.

Day 3: Science
All the necessary materials--this is not an expensive project--perfect for a recession : ) You could add red food coloring if you want, but remember the stain-potential.
I didn't have a funnel, so that is baking soda all over the rim of the volcano. Then I carefully added the vinegar--we had to use a lot of both since our volcano was so tall. The kids can create the reaction in small dixie cups using a lot less baking soda and vinegar. I forgot to let them try that today, but when Ezra took a science class, that is how they did it. They can cause reactions to their heart's content.
And the eruption flows down the volcano--make sure you do this outside, or have a big huge old sheet on the table to catch the flow. The kids want to make it re-erupt as many times as I let them, and we used up about 20 ounces of vinegar--it all has to go somewhere!

Hey, now this is fun.

She chortled and squealed and enjoyed watching from a safe perch--happy to let brother be the one involved.

He got brave enough to add the vinegar himself.
Wait for it, wait for it...

This is what we're going for--this reaction right here!


NaomiG said...

Ok, I'm totally going to try to forget that I saw this until this summer when we can do it all outside. :-) My kids would LOVE it... volcanos are one of their fav things. Great idea!

Megan Miller said...

I can hear Ezra's laugh. I'm going to look at that last picture again so I can hear it again.

Anonymous said...

haha, neat! love Ezra's look and his haircut!!! :) ~Cath

Tracy said...

Looks like they sure enjoyed it! I'll definitely have try this one with our kids too. :)

Mike, Alice, and Hank the DOG said...

Ah, I see Ezra got a haircut! You have such neat projects for your kids to enjoy. And I enjoy looking at the pictures. They tell the story well! Thanks for the post!

The Chatty Housewife said...

I can remember doing that in school, it looks like your kids had so much fun!