Making models is a productive way for kids to learn about volcanoes. You can construct a model volcano by sculpting paper mache around a chicken wire frame, before simulating an eruption using baking soda and vinegar. The entire project takes a couple of days while the materials dry, and you should simulate the eruption in an open area to avoid anything being damaged by the "lava."
Things You'll Need
- Cardboard box
- Plastic bottle
- Chicken wire
- Craft paint
- Baking soda
Cut a 1-square-foot piece of cardboard as the base for the volcano.
Place a small plastic bottle in the center of the cardboard. This will be the crater of the volcano. Bend and sculpt chicken wire around the bottle to form the shape of the mountain.
Add one cup of flour to 1 1/2 cups of water. Stir the flour into the water to make a smooth paste. Tear 1 inch long pieces of newspaper. Drag the pieces through the paste and cover the chicken wire with strips. Overlap the pieces to make the structure stronger. Continue to add pieces of paper to the frame until it is completely covered. Leave the paper mache for one day to dry out.
Paint the paper mache with craft paint. Use a gray, brown or green color for the walls of the volcano, with red/orange lava tracks down the side and perhaps some white for snow on the peak of the volcano. Allow several hours for the paint to dry.
Add a 1/4 cup of vinegar to the bottle in the volcano.
Create a mixture of 2 tablespoons of baking soda and red jelly granules.
Put a funnel into the top of the bottle in the volcano. Quickly add the granules and soda mixture to the vinegar. Remove the funnel quickly and watch the reaction.