Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top" - Underwater Volcano Craft

The kids have been wanting to do a volcano project for weeks now. And, while the thought of my dining room table covered in chicken wire and paper mache, did sound quite homeschooly, the reality of the mess, was a little more than I was ready to commit to. So, when I came across this Magic School Bus extension project, approaching the whole volcano concept from a little different angle, I knew right away, the kids would love it.

First, we mixed up a quick batch of brown play dough:
  • 1 cup flour

  • 3/4 cup salt

  • 1/2 cup boiling water

  • 1/4 oil

  • 5 drops each, of green and red food coloring

Then, I trimmed an instant oatmeal box, to shoe box depth, and cut a 2 inch round hole in the top. The little ones painted the sides,and the top of the box, inside and out, with watered down glue, and then pressed on small pieces of blue tissue paper, to represent the ocean.

They colored in some magma, which we covered with left over cardboard, trimmed from the box, for colliding plates of the earth's crust, under the ocean.

Then, they formed a hollow mountain with the play dough, over the spot where the plates collided, pushing it up so that it rose through the hole, in the top of the box.

Finally, they sketched out a few fish to hang, under the ocean, around the mountain, and we were ready for action.

A spoonful of baking soda...

...a few drops of red food coloring...

...a dash of vinegar...

...and we watched, as our volcano produced its island forming lava.

It wasn't quite the great explosion the children were hoping for, but it did provide them with an idea of how an island is formed.

While I quickly wrapped the completed project in a plastic bag, and ran it out to the garbage can, the children watched, "The Magic School Bus Blows It's Top", which we found here, at what appears to be a Chinese version of YouTube (the episode is in English, though). I put the book, by the same name, on hold from a partner library too, but it will be a few days before it arrives. In the meantime listening the voice of Lily Tomlin, as Miss Frizzle, is always a treat.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

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