Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Shake, Rattle & Roll!

So, we have been learning about the Earth's crust, and today, we learned more about volcanoes and earthquakes.  In our study, we read the following books:

Earthquakes and Volcanoes by Deborah Merrians (it's quite old, with a copyright date of 1975, but very informative and easy to understand) ...
 ... Earthquakes by Franklyn M. Branley ... 
 ... and Earthquakes by Ellen J. Prager.
Here is a video from YouTube, about earthquakes, that Maggie and I watched together.
For today's journal entry, I asked her, "Which would you rather not be near, a volcano or an earthquake, and why?"  She answered, "An earthquake, because it knocks over buildings."  This is her drawing in her journal, of a cracked building, with a cracked road, and trees, fallen down.  :)
We had briefly studied volcanoes prior, when we did an at-home project for our Korea study with our homeschooling co-op.  Here is the link to that blog post:  I recommend that you look at it, too, for some more reading suggestions and templates you can print, but here, I will share a few photos from that post for inspiration.
Here is Maggie, with her volcano project board, with a volcano mini book, the parts of a volcano labeled, and a mini volcano model attached.  (All of these templates are on the post I just mentioned.)
And here she is again, with our volcano model, lit up with an LED tea light!  (The instructions for this are also on that link.)
For today's study of volcanoes, we read Volcanoes: Nature's Incredible Fireworks by David L. Harrison ...
... National Geographic Kids: Volcanoes! by Anne Schreiber ...
... and The Magic School  Bus Blows Its Top: A Book About Volcanoes by Joanna Cole and Gail Herman.
And here is a video from YouTube, about volcanoes, that Maggie and I watched together.
For our volcano activity, we decided to make the "tried and true" baking soda and vinegar volcano!  For the same, you will need a clean, dry drinking bottle (like a 20 ounce soda bottle), baking soda (the fresher, the better!), a little dish soap, red food coloring ...
 ... and, of course, white vinegar.  (We also used a measuring cup, measuring spoons, and a piece of copy paper.)
First, measure out 1 cup of vinegar, then dye red using a few drops of your food coloring.
Next, make a funnel using your piece of copy paper so that you can easily measure into the bottle 1-2 tablespoons of your baking soda.  Once the baking soda is in the bottle, add a squirt of dish soap to the bottle.  (This will add a bit of foamy fun to your volcano!)
Then, slowly pour the vinegar into the bottle.
 We have "lava flows!"
 What kid wouldn't find this cool?
For a snack, I made "Molten Lava Volcano Cakes," as seen at  For the same, you will need a chocolate cake mix (I used just a boxed cake mix, Pillsbury, but they do have a chocolate cake recipe on the site if you wish to follow that), and red and orange candy melts.  (I bought mine at Michael's craft store with coupons.)
They made mini volcano cakes, but I wanted to make one big one to emphasize the largeness of these natural beasts, so I used one of my large Pyrex bowls to bake the cake mix in.  (Also, you will notice I sprayed the bowl well, because I was very worried it might stick.)
It didn't!  :)
 I put our candy melts in two small, separate Pyrex bowls to melt in.  As per the site's suggestion, as my baked cake came out, I immediately turned off the oven to get it to a cooler temperature (otherwise, our candy melts might have burned), then stuck the candy melts in to start the melting process. 
According to the site, "it should take 8-12 minutes to melt, but check on your chocolate every couple of minutes, as each oven heats differently and stir each time. Heating on the lowest temperature of your oven melts the chocolate properly and eliminates that white coating that can appear on chocolate, usually it is around 140 degrees."
Once the candies are melted, take them out of the oven and start adding them to the cake!  First, plop on the orange color, right to the top, as shown.
 Then, make an 'X' over the orange with the red, like below.
 Finally, using your orange spoon again, make a few swirls in the top to make it look more "lava-like."  Unfortunately, my candies weren't oozing like they're supposed to (maybe my oven runs cooler?), so I decided to pop the whole thing in the oven until just oozing.  (This would take some careful watching.)
 I popped the rack into a sheet pan (so as not to mess up my oven) and stuck the whole think back in at 220 degrees.
Well, unfortunately, even after putting it back in the oven, it never really wanted to "ooze" like the site's did.   Oh well, I think it turned out ok.  (At least Maggie was happy!)  Afterwards, I had a thought ... some pink cotton candy would go perfect on this, stuck right on top for smoke!
Happy homeschooling!

No comments:

Post a Comment