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Eruptions are fascinating natural phenomena. Though they are often destructive and dangerous, they are also beautiful and majestic, transforming the surrounding landscapes.
To understand how they work, we offer you an experience that recreates an effusive volcanic eruption, of a red volcano.
The experience is simple to carry out and quite impressive! We have even added an artistic tweak to it. Are you ready? Let’s go!
You will need :
You must first create your volcano! Here you have carte blanche. You can decide to extend the activity by adding an artistic side by creating a realistic volcano with papier mache for example, or even in homemade play dough.
You can even paint it if you wish. Otherwise, you can build the mountain with earth or sand.
What is most important is to have a crater. For a more impressive eruption, use a bottle in the center of your volcano to make the crater.
The simplest and quickest version is to use a brown cardboard sheet cut into a cone shape and glued around the bottle.
When your volcano is ready, it is time to trigger the eruption! Place your volcano on a large board to avoid a large mess.
Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the crater (bottle), along with a few drops of red food coloring. The more coloring, the redder the lava will be.
Then pour the equivalent of a glass of white vinegar into the crater (bottle), step aside and admire your homemade volcanic eruption!
When the baking soda encounters the vinegar which is very acidic, a chemical reaction takes place and the two components create a gas called carbon dioxide (CO2). This produced gas takes up a lot of space in the bottle and so as pressure within the bottle increases quickly, the gas wants to escape! The gas ends up escaping from the top, forming small bubbles which carry part of the liquid with them.
During a real volcanic eruption, the magma which is composed of molten rock is also liquid. It is this magma which is then evacuated outside the volcano under the very strong pressure of volcanic gases.
There are two types of volcanic eruptions:
In today’s diary, kids can document the day’s activity. For example, by drawing the volcanic eruption, imagining a story with a real volcano, or describing the volcano that you created. The possibilities are limitless!
Here are a few questions that might fuel a discussion surrounding this activity :
For more information on volcanoes, the french show C’est pas sorcier spécial sur les volcans explains the phenomenon very well so children can understand!
To take things further, repeat the experiment with a variety of different colors of food coloring, mix, and observe!
Activity by Ari Bouclette
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