Geology Rocks – making your own Volcano

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ow to Make a Classroom Volcano
In our blog, we talked about the best volcanic hang outs for aspiring super-villains. Realistically though, we know many of you Evil Geologists can’t afford a lair to call your own – in view of this, we present the (sort of) next best thing. A volcano in your very own classroom or kitchen.
It’s not easy to produce your own volcano (although we’ve had a hilariously good go at it), which presents a problem for classroom demonstrations/DIY volcanism. But this simple experiment gives an idea of what a volcano can look like when it erupts, giving children or inquisitive adults a close up view of a ‘lava flow’ as it happens.
The great thing about this experiment is that it can be done in one lesson, and can include discussion with students about how carbon dioxide is given off during an eruption, magma is the molten rock inside a volcano, and lava flows during an eruption. It’s a good idea to have some igneous rocks on hand as well – pumice, granite and obsidian are good ways to demonstrate that a variety of rocks are produced in eruptions.
What you’ll need:
2x plastic cups
1x paper plate
roll of silver foil
glug of red food colouring
50ml vinegar
50ml washing up liquid
3xtable spoons bicarbonate of soda
lump of blue tack
Here’s how you do it:
Attach the plastic cup to the plate using blue tack – you can use scissors to adjust the height of the cup, depending on how big you want your volcano to be!
Cover the plate and cup with a sheet of foil – don’t forget to make a hole above the cup for the caldera.
Mix together roughly equal amounts of vinegar and washing up liquid, and add red food dye to give the experiment that molton lava look.
Pour the mixture into the cup, filling it to about halfway or slightly over (more if you want a really messy explosion!)
Pour in two or three teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda.
Stand back and watch your eruption unfold….
Tip – try adding different combinations of vinegar and baking soda to create different and bigger eruptions!
So there you have it – not quite a lair, but you have to start somewhere…

Now… it’s not easy to produce your own volcano (although we’ve had a hilariously good go at it), which presents a problem for DIY volcanism.

But this simple experiment gives an idea of what a volcano can look like when it erupts, giving inquisitive people like you a close up view of a ‘lava flow’ as it happens.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 x plastic cups
  • 1 x paper plate
  • roll of silver foil
  • glug of red food colouring
  • 50ml vinegar
  • 50ml washing up liquid
  • 3 x tablespoons bicarbonate of soda
  • lump of blue tack

And a parent to help out!

Here’s how you do it:

volcano-step2Attach the plastic cup to the plate using blue tack – you can use scissors to adjust the height of the cup, depending on how big you want your volcano to be!

Cover the plate and cup with a sheet of foil – don’t forget to make a hole above the cup for the caldera.

volcano-step3Mix together roughly equal amounts of vinegar and washing up liquid, and add red food dye to give the experiment that molton lava look.

Pour the mixture into the cup, filling it to about halfway or slightly over (more if you want a really messy explosion!)
.

volcano-step5Pour in two or three teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda.

Stand back and watch your eruption unfold….
.

Tip – try adding different combinations of vinegar and baking soda to create different and bigger eruptions!

volcano-step6So there you have it – not quite a lair, but you have to start somewhere…

> Visit the Geology Rocks homepage
> Download the free Geology Rock podcast from iTunes

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