How to Build a Volcano

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 85,003
    Margaret Morgan of Mad Science demonstrates how to build the classic Volcano science project.

    Margaret Morgan: My name is Margaret Morgan, I am a science educator in Pinellas County, Florida and now I am going to show you how to build your own volcano. Today we are going to be using Air-dry clay to actually build the outside of our volcano and here we have some pieces of wood, to use for decoration and some trees to decorate our volcano. Now we are going to need something to put inside your volcano like a plastic bottle or a glass container or something for the eruption or for the acid base reaction to actually occur in.

    We are also going to need a platform to build the volcano on and probably a good idea is to have lots of paper towels around to clean up the mess afterward. So the first thing you are going to do is take your clay and form the shape of a volcano or a mountain around your plastic bottle. Well, I am making a volcano shape around my plastic bottle, trying to make it mountain shaped, great. Definitely you want to conceal your plastic bottle completely within the volcano shape, so it looks more like a real volcano, I want it to look like a volcano and not like a vinegar bottle.

    See right now I am just shaping the volcano, shaping the mountain. Hey, I am just trying to make this look as mountain like as possible, I am going to smooth out the edges here. So our volcanic formation is starting to take shape. Now you definitely want to make sure that you have the opening of your volcano unobstructed by clay. Oh great, starting to look like a volcano, kind of a lumpy volcano. Great, now you just want to smooth out your volcano, make sure there are not too many finger prints in it. Just model it however you want to, just trying to smooth it out a little bit right now it is kind of lumpy, but I guess that is realistic.

    Normal volcano would have chunks of rock and ash and different layers usually. So the next step is to take your wood and trees or paint if you are using paint and just decorate your volcano however you want. Our volcano is going to have tress at the base and I have got some pebbles to use as boulders on my mountain and some sticks to use as wood and dead trees. I am just thinking about the lava flowing through it and how it is going to look cool, one sticking up there, I think that's pretty good, along with those evergreens, some boulder here, inside of the mountain, another dead tree inside of my mountain or maybe it is winter and the only trees that have leaves on them are these evergreens, you can put some dead trees at the top there.

    They were alive but this volcano has erupted before and scorched the trees that were at the top. We have some boulders at the top, we have some volcanic rock from the last time volcano erupted, we have some magma and there we go, decorated our mountain. So you can be as creative as you want when it comes to decorating your own volcano, you can paint it, you can add trees and boulders, add a village maybe at the bottom of the mountain. This is just how I chose to decorate mine but you can be as creative and well out as much as you want. So the next thing we are going to do is make our volcano erupt.