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The First Great Lesson
Section 4 of 7
Directions to Make Your Own Volcano
Approximate time to complete: 1-3 hours total + drying time + questions and journal time
Click below to download and print this experiment card:
When Earth was forming, there was chaos. Even as it started to calm down and take shape, there were volcanoes erupting everywhere. I wonder what a volcano eruption is like.
- 3 Cups Flour
- 1 ½ Cups Salt
- 1 ½ Cups Water
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Empty Beaker or Cup
- 5mL (1 Tsp) Baking Soda
- 60mL Vinegar
- 3-5 Drops Liquid Dish Soap
- 3-5 Drops Red Food Coloring
- Baking Pan Covered in Foil
*Suggested: Black, Red, and Orange Acrylic Paint + Paint Brushes to Decorate
- Mix flour, salt, and water in a large bowl until it turns into dough.
- Mold your dough into the shape of a volcano around the empty beaker (do this on the foil-covered baking sheet so you do not have to move it later).
- Pull the plastic beaker out of the volcano, and reshape as needed.
- Let the volcano dry.
- Option 1: Leave the volcano out on the counter for a few days.
- Option 2: Bake the volcano at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 2-4 hours in the oven.
- Paint the volcano & let it dry completely (optional).
- If it is not already, put your volcano into a baking pan or bowl.
- Pour baking soda, liquid dish soap, and red food coloring into the center of the volcano.
- Mix them together.
- Pour the vinegar into the center of the volcano.
- Repeat if you want!
Questions & Further Research
- What happened when you mixed the baking soda, soap, and food coloring together? What happened when you added the vinegar?
- Are there any parts of this experiment you could change to cause a different outcome?
- How is this similar to what happens in a real volcano? (Hint: think back to The First Great Lesson)
- You just made a volcano out of salt dough. What are real volcanoes made of?
- Are there volcanoes where you live? Are you sure? (Hint: look up dormant volcanoes)
- Why do volcanoes form in some places, but not others?