Thursday, June 17, 2010

Volcano Fun

The Early Childhood classes at Q's school are studying dinosaurs this month. I love the way the toddler teacher paced this great science investigation and wanted to share it for anyone looking for some great summer fun!

Day one--they made a batch of brown playdough (great recipes to be found via the internet) to represent the mountain.

Day two--they made a batch of black playdough to represent the ash.

These two activities involved great math skills such as measuring and counting, pratical life skills of stirring and cooking, gross motor skills of kneading the dough, and science skills as the children observed the changes of states of the ingredients--from a liquid to a solid.

Day three--they made a volcano by covering a plastic cup with the two colors of playdough, forming a volcano shape, and adding flowers, ferns, etc. They used artificial foilage, but you could also use sticks and leaves and even dirt from the yard. And no forgetting the dinosaurs!!

Day four--Volcano explosion day!! Mix vinegar and food coloring in a measuring cup (about 1 c. liquid total, but precision does not matter here), pour about 1/4 c. baking soda into the volcano cup, then add the vinegar/food coloring mixture and watch the volcano do it's thing!! If the volcano stops bubbling, add more baking soda and then more vinegar.

The children talked about volcano vocabulary--hot, ashes, magma, explosion, was a wonderful exploration and they were so amazed!

I have done this outside with my older students and just printed the directions and let them try to follow them on their own. They went crazy for this! Best of all, the ingredients are very inexpensive!! If you don't have plastic dinosaurs, you could make stand-up cardboard ones!!

Thanks for the pic, N!