Monday, April 7, 2008

Rocks and a Volcano

Today, we read two of our library books about rocks. One of them was called, Let's Go Rock Collecting, and is a picture book with longer text. It talks about collecting rocks and gives all of the basic information about rocks from the three different types of rocks to information about Mohs' Scale of Hardness. There are some photos of actual rocks in it but most of the pictures are illustrations. The other book we read was called Rocks and Minerals. This book covered all of the basics, too, but also included some information about gems and ores. Included were some cool photos of places like Wave Rock, Half Dome, Kilauea, Devils Tower, The Painted Hills, The Twelve Apostles, and Meteor Crater. With all of these great places, it could be a lauching pad to include some geography in a unit on rocks.

When we were done reading, we made a model volcano and erupted it. The kids loved that. Here's some photos.

Here's Mika and Sammy building their volcano with some old clay. They love making this with clay.

Our first eruption! It was a bit of a powerful eruption and our color didn't quite come out right. The kids loved the affects, though, as you can plainly see.

They wanted to do it again so I dumped out the lava and rinsed it out a bit. Our second explosion worked better. The color was better and it was a slower eruption (there was some water mixture still in the bottle from the first). That gave us a chance to see how the lava flowed. I had adjusted their volcano's form to make sure one side of the opening was built up so we could theorize and discover why the lava flowed to one side only. I also had added some channels to direct the lava, some hills at the bottom, and some valleys. We added some monopoly houses to the valley. I did this so we could discuss living in the "flow zone" and what to do (head for the hills following the evacuation route). Living in the shadow of Mt. Rainier we often see evacuation routes in our outings. We supposedly don't live in the flow zone though.

Mika wanted me to add a photo of her being a drama queen.

Josh watched the action, too.

Here's instructions for how to make your own volcano. They are very easy and can be made with clay or salt dough.

Here is a link to a cool virtual volcano at Discovery Channel's website. It talks about the inside parts of a volcano, types of volcano, and what happens when you change the lava's viscosity and amount of gas. You get to adjust the latter two to see what kind of volcano usually forms and how it usually erupts with those settings.

Have fun!

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Anonymous said...

Looks like they had so much fun! I love the drama queen pic and Josh looks so cool and calm in his pic. Heehee. So cute!

Michelle Olsen Sasak said...

I laughed so hard when I saw the Monopoly houses! Great experiment =)

~Mary~ 4boys4me said...

I love the Monopoly houses.
The story of Pompeii is an interesting one when you're studying volcanoes.