Friday, March 2, 2012

The Volcano Experiment

 Desert Boy has been asking off and on about volcanoes, so when I saw this All About Volcanoes activity at the thrift store for $1, I decided it was time. The activity was to paint a volcano landscape and then mix baking soda and vinegar and have the volcano erupt. I have very fond memories of making volcanoes when I was a kid, and since I'm still a kid, I was ready for an erupting volcano.

 The first step was to put on painting clothes and paint the volcano terrain. It had already been painted once, but that didn't matter. There was still plenty of paint left.

 The kids got along better than I expected. They each had their designated volcanoes to paint, and they did well sticking to them.

 Desert Boy was working hard at painting his volcanoes just the way he wanted.

 Desert Girl was just glad to get the paint applied; she didn't care how it looked.

 Here's the finished product. Now came the hardest part: waiting for the paint to dry so we could do the exploding volcano part.

We played games, ate dinner, cleaned up, and finally declared that the paint was dry enough.

The kit was missing the directions (of course), but it had most of the parts pictured on the front. That included a mixing bottle for the baking soda and vinegar. We couldn't quite figure out how to mix it in the bottle, but what could go wrong?

 We decided the kitchen floor would be an appropriate place to do this experiment, with a box and a baking pan under the volcanoes (since we couldn't quite get the supports to work). I had put the vinegar (with red food coloring) into one of the chambers of the bottle and was adding baking soda to the other.

Then it was time to shake the bottle and put it under the volcano. That part didn't quite work out right, and we ended up with a volcano spurting 'magma' four feet into the air. It was quite impressive. And extremely messy. It's a really good thing that our volcanic eruption wasn't hot, or we would have had some problems. As it was, we got more of the kitchen cleaned than we had intended.

Unfortunately we weren't able to capture any of the massive explosion on camera due to the utter amazingness of the event (and the necessity of grabbing towels to try to save some stuff from getting red and wet) . We will have to try again. And I've already decided that next time we're going to bury a two-liter bottle in a pile of dirt. The kids can sculpt the dirt how they want. Then we'll pour the vinegar and baking soda into the bottle and it can erupt outside. Somehow that just might work out better.


~It's Just Me~ said...

LOL! ^^ They did such a good job painting. Did the 'magma' come off your kitchen walls?

phil said...

Those are the times that your kids will repeat to you when you are retired and rocking a grandchild.

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