ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • Elementary, Middle School & High School

How to Build Your Own Erupting Volcano

Updated on March 16, 2012
Source

When I was in the fourth grade, my best friend and I decided to team up for the annual salt dough volcano project. She’d had some experience, having watched her sister build hers the year before, but I was completely unaware of the process of building the volcano and making it erupt. With the excellent instructions given to us by our teacher, and my friend’s previous experience, we walked away with As for the project.

Thirty-three years later, it was my daughter’s turn to make her own volcano, and three years later, my son built his. We are now volcano eruption experts around here. Next year, I will oversee what may be my last volcano construction project, when my youngest child hits fourth grade. Here is a recipe for the salt dough used to make the volcano and instructions for making the volcano erupt, with some tips for making sure that your erupting volcano receives an A+ scattered throughout.

What you’ll need:

A good-sized, sturdy cardboard box

A box cutter, strong scissors, or a heavy-duty craft knife

Aluminum foil

A 20oz plastic water or soda bottle; we’ve found that VitaminWater bottles work well because of their wider mouth

Poster board (optional)

Salt dough:

6 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups salt

4 tablespoons cooking oil

2 cups water

Rocks, dirt, small plastic plants for decoration (optional)

Acrylic craft paint and brush

“Lava”:

Food coloring

Liquid dishwashing detergent

Vinegar

Baking soda

Water

Funnel


Instructions:

1. Cut the box down to create a tray with 2 to 2½ inch sides. Line the bottom of the tray with pieces of the cut-away box for reinforcement.

2. Line the bottom and sides of the tray with aluminum foil.

3. Place the plastic bottle in the center of the tray.

4. If desired, make a volcano-shaped cone with the poster board, fastening it around the neck of the plastic bottle with the top of the bottle forming the mouth of the volcano. (We always skipped this step, but I think it might make the finished product lighter and thus easier to carry.)

5. Make the salt dough: Place all ingredients in large bowl and knead with hands until well-mixed and smooth. Add small amount of water if needed, but be careful—dough that is too “wet” will not stick or stay in place.

6. Mold the salt dough around the plastic bottle (and poster board cone, if you’re using that) to create the volcano.

7. Embed the plastic foliage if you’re using it—you can buy a few branches or sprigs at a craft store and cut them to the size you want. You can also scatter small rocks and dirt over the salt dough for a more authentic look.

8. Let the salt dough dry at least overnight, and preferably longer. This is important—one of my kids didn’t have time to let the dough dry before the project was due, and the wet dough slid off the plastic bottle, creating a big salt dough pancake with a plastic bottle stuck in the middle of it. That one had style points taken off—you’ve been warned.

9. Paint the volcano and let dry.

Now it’s time to make the volcano erupt. Be sure to bring plenty of “lava” ingredients so you can make multiple eruptions:

1. Fill the plastic bottle inside your volcano about half-full of warm water.

2. Add red/orange food coloring.

3. Add 6-10 drops of liquid dishwashing detergent.

4. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the bottle.

5. Using the funnel, slowly add the vinegar—be ready to pull the funnel away when the eruption begins! The mixture of baking soda and vinegar creates carbon dioxide bubbles like the ones inside a real volcano, which push the lava up and out.

One word of warning—depending on how much salt dough you end up using, the final product may be pretty heavy. It may take more than one person to transport the finished product. Our process is designed to help minimize the ooze, but it’s still a pretty messy project, so be prepared! My now 12-year-old would like me to add that if you want a true eruption, skip the baking soda and vinegar and go with Diet Coke and Mentos; this, I fear, would necessitate providing protective ponchos for the rest of the class and could possibly result in points off for too much realism. Your call. Most of all, have fun—this is one of the most anticipated activities at our elementary school, and every fourth-grader looks forward to finally making their own volcano. Have fun making yours!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      sabiya dange 4 years ago

      its really helpful to those kids....... but I too want to do an experiment for 9th class, so will you plz tell me an idea.....

    • profile image

      4 years ago

      its cool......

    • larcaustin46 profile image
      Author

      larcaustin46 6 years ago from Austin, TX

      Excellent question, Juliez--the fact is that a lot of the liquid spews out as the baking soda and vinegar react, so there's not as much left as you might think. One of my children's teachers used a length of rubber tubing to siphon off the liquid--you could also use a large drinking straw or, if the volcano mouth is big enough, a turkey baster. Anyone else have any suggestions?

    • profile image

      Juliez 6 years ago

      Thanks for this "recipe". Curious how you handle this when you have to make the volcano erupt 10 times! Do you empty out your 20 ounce bottle and if so,how?

    • ercramer36 profile image

      Eric Cramer 6 years ago from Chicagoland

      Great hub! I will have to try this with my two sons. Cool idea!

    • Eileen Goodall profile image

      Eileen Goodall 6 years ago from Buckinghamshire, England

      This is such a useful hub for those people with kids and doing science projects, thanks for sharing.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)