Building Your Own Volcano!

Have you ever seen a volcano erupt? In a volcanic eruption, magma gathers in a reservoir and erupts onto Earth's surface. With the help of an adult family member or friend, you can build a working volcano in your own home!


A small toy volcano erupting.


Ask an adult to help you make the salt dough by mixing 6 cups flour, 2 cups salt, 4 tablespoons cooking oil, and 2 cups water in a large bowl. Work the ingredients with your hands until it's smooth and firm. (Add more water to the mixture if necessary.) Stand the soda bottle in the baking pan. Mold the salt dough around the bottle, making sure you do not cover up the bottle mouth or drop any dough into the bottle. Next, fill the bottle most of the way with warm water mixed with a little red food coloring, then put 6 drops of liquid detergent into the bottle. Add 2 tablespoons baking soda to the bottle. Finally, pour vinegar slowly into the bottle and jump back quickly!


In what patterns did the “lava” flow as the volcano erupted? In real life, what causes volcanic eruptions, and where are they most likely to happen? What effects do you think volcanic eruptions might have on local populations and ecosystems?