Monday, November 17, 2008

Volcano Construction

Dear daughter got a Young Scientist Club science kit for her birthday. She made and exploded her very own volcano. Absolutely loved the entire project!! You actually can make your very own volcano from materials at home:


1- shoe box lid
1- ~16 oz. plastic bottle- empty (we used a Gatorade bottle)
2 pieces construction paper
mixing bowl
2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
black paint and paintbrush
baking soda
red food coloring
liquid dish soap


1. Tape the plastic bottle upright in the center of the shoe box lid. Wrap a piece of the construction paper around half of the bottle so it is a cone shape. You may have to trim the bottom of the paper. You want the paper to meet evenly with the top of the bottle. Tape the other piece of construction paper on the other side of bottle so that the bottle is completely surrounded. Tape the paper down securely on the shoe box lid.

2. Cover your work area with newspaper. Tear one section of newspaper (or magazine paper) into one inch strips. Combine water and flour in mixing bowl. Use this flour paste right away by dragging a piece of newspaper strip through the paste and remove extra paste by running your fingers down the strip. Place coated strip on the volcano and repeat until volcano is completely covered in the paper mache'. You can make it as thick as you like. Once the volcano is covered, it will need to dry. This may take a day or two.

3. Once dry, paint the volcano with the black paint. It should be nice and sturdy and able to used for many eruptions.

4. Once the paint is dry, you can prepare the lava. Here is a starter recipe for the lava, but your young scientist can be a real chemist and experiment with different combinations and amounts. Just make sure to place all ingredients in the bottle except the vinegar- which should be added last. We mixed everything but the vinegar in a mixing bowl and then poured this into the bottle/volcano using a funnel. Then we poured in the vinegar.

Tell your young scientist that mixing vinegar and baking soda produces a gas and this causes the explosion. You can pour out the remaining lava after eruption and start again.

Happy Exploding!!


4 teaspoons of baking soda

1/4 cup of warm water

5 drops of liquid dish detergent

5 drops of red food coloring

1/4 cup vinegar