Volcanus Eruptus (and Other Earthy Sciency Fun)

So, I realize we probably should have made our own volcano, but I found this kit at Bed, Bath & Beyond on sale for $7 and decided we would probably spend at least that much in materials anyway, so I picked it up. It seemed to work fine, but it was much much smaller than we expected. Also, the little tablets that came with it didn't explode like we expected, in fact, they seemed more or less to be duds.

So we improvised...and threw a little vinegar and baking soda down the hatch.

Cuz nothing says volcano like vinegar and baking soda.

Look out! Hot frothy lava coming your way!

This definitely got a big thumbs up from the monkeys.

Another part of our Earth Science semester included spending a few weeks talking about pollution, over-fishing, composting, recycling, soil and other various green topics. This pretty little experiment was a part of our discussions about what happens when plants (and animals) absorb or drink polluted water. The colors in the jars represent pollution...and while it does make white flowers look all perty and stuff...it's a nice reminder that our Earth is a sponge and we need to take care what we throw on it and in it.

Speaking of soil...

Another (seemingly random) project we worked on came from one of the Arty Facts books I've raved about in previous posts. This particular book was Ocean & Art Activities. We spent a few weeks talking about all things ocean, including islands and pirates. I let the monkeys pick what projects they wanted to work on and they picked a paper mache whale (more on that in another blog post) and treasure maps.

Arrrrgh, treasure maps!

They each drew up a map, named their island, created obstacles along the path to keep their treasures from being discovered...

we made up a pot of tea and tea-stained the maps, tore the edges, added a little color and viola! Handy treasure maps...

and do you know what they did the rest of the afternoon?

Played with their maps.

Holla...I love it when that happens.

Our last Earth Science project came from another Arty Facts book called, Planet Earth & Art Activities. The gypsies decided to build a paper-mache cave, and since it also followed along with our recycling theme, I was all over it.

We grabbed a couple of leftover shoe boxes, cut them cavelike, and taped them together (how's that for specific?).

We then added lots and lots of sticky newspaper strips and crumbles...

lots and lots...

and let it dry for a few days.

After it was dry, we spray painted it black and the girls added some brown paint to make it look more cavelike. We rolled stalactites and stalagmites out of tin foil strips and taped them in place. 

And with that, our gnarly cave was complete! (and in case you were wondering, the stalactites are the ones on top and the stalagmites are the ones on the bottom - we kept forgetting and it was getting frustrating so I finally came up with something to help us remember: stalactite has a 't' in it. 'T'=top. Stalactites are on top. Done. Now we'll never forget.
Right? Right.)

Speaking of stalactites...

The girls took a field trip with their Grammy to see some of our local stalactites and stalagmites at the Natural Bridge Caverns...cuz, the only thing better than making your own cave of stalactites is seeing them up close and personal.



and somewhat dark and scary...so whatever you do, do not look behind you!

Now, bring on the astronomy, cuz we are done with Earth Science! Yay!


  1. Great projects!
    Another easy way to remember stalactites and stalagmites, C=Ceiling, G=Ground. I'm a geologist, and this is seriously what I used to remember them when I was in college!
    Good luck on astronomy, I can't wait to read about what you do!

  2. Such great ideas!! Im going to check out the Arty Facts books now!! Science is our one slacker subject because I just can't ever figure out what to do or get motivated!!! You are definitely helping me!!!