This volcano project uses all four of our primary senses – smell, touch, sight, and hearing. You can tell by using these four senses that this is not something you want to eat, so we won’t be using our sense of taste in this project! But we’ll be able to smell the vinegar, touch the volcano as we put it together with paper mache and paint, we’ll see the bubbling explosion, and we can hear the fizzing once the vinegar mixes with the baking soda. Get ready for an extravaganza of the senses! Volcano explosion!
To build your volcano, you will need:
- An empty two litre soda bottle
- A plate or something circular to trace for a perfect circle
- Glue gun
- Aluminium foil
- Masking tape
- Paper towel tubes x4
- Paper towel
- Craft paint: brown, black, grey, and green
- White glue
- Three bottle caps
How to put it together:
1. Building the shape:
- Trace a large plate or something circular onto a piece of cardboard. This will be the base of your volcano!
- Then cut out the circular cardboard shape. Cover the bottom side of the volcano with aluminum foil and tape it down with masking tape. This will help keep the cardboard dry so you can use your volcano over and over again.
- Place the empty two litre soda bottle at the centre of the base and hot glue it into place with a glue gun. Glue three bottle caps to the base of the volcano. The three bottle caps will help keep the bottom of the volcano dry when the explosion happens!
- Cut out the four paper towel tubes in half lengthwise to make 8 halves. With masking tape, tape the bottom of one of the halved tubes to the edge of the base of the volcano, and tape the top of the halved tube to the top of the bottle.
- Continue taping the halved tubes around the bottle – start with four, than add the remaining strips in between.
- Once finished, reinforce the shape by wrapping tape around the bottom, centre and top. This will also make adding the paper mache easier.
2. Covering the surface:
- Make a paper mache glue paste (see below for recipe), and tear your newspaper into 2”x 3” strips. Dip the newspaper strips into the glue paste one piece at a time and squeeze out any excess by slipping the strips between your fingers. Apply the pieces onto the volcano by overlapping the edges.
- Once you’ve reached the bottom wrap the paper around the bottom edge. Leave to dry over night and store remaining glue paste in the fridge.
- For our second coat we used strong paper towel – some paper towels are stronger than others – it will dry strong and add a bit of texture for the final look. If you prefer a smooth finish, continue adding two more layers of paper maché with the newspaper strips, remembering to let it dry between layers. If you are using strong paper towels, use large pieces with straight edges. Dip the pieces into the glue paste and squeeze out the excess, as you did with the newspaper strips. Stretch large pieces first, then fill in smaller areas with smaller pieces. Leave creases for added texture. Once covered leave to dry over night or to speed up drying time use a hair dryer.
- For the final coat, paint on a mixture of water and white glue the consistency of shampoo. This will help seal the final layer and make the volcano more durable and reusable.
Glue Paste for Paper Maché (non toxic):
- 1 cup flour
- 2 cups water
Mix one part flour to two parts water in a bowl with a whisk. Mix until all lumps are gone. Adjust mixture with more flour or water if necessary.
3. Decorating your volcano:
- Paint the volcano with your dark base colour, we used dark brown. Then dry brush your mid and light tones onto the surface. You can also glue on moss to look like tree tops!
Ingredients for the eruption:
- Four cups of warm water
- One squirt of dish soap
- Five drops red and yellow food colouring
- Four tbsp of baking soda
- 2/3 cups of white vinegar
- Tray or lined box to catch over spill
4. Setting up for the eruption:
- Place the volcano on a tray large enough to catch the spill from the eruption. Add warm water, dish soap, food colouring and baking soda in a bowl (a bowl with a spout work best!) ad mix together. Pour the mixture into the empty soda bottle inside your volcano by using a funnel. Then with the funnel in place, when you’re ready, add the vinegar and quickly remove the funnel to watch your volcano erupt!
Use your senses to hear, see, smell and touch all that is going on with your volcano you created! You can make the volcano erupt over and over for lots of sensory excitement!
For more activities and fun using your senses, visit Caitie’s Classroom for an episode all about the Five Senses!
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