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    Home / Science projects / Earth Science Projects
    • Earth Science Projects

      Earth Science Projects

      Make An Erupting Volcano

      Have you ever seen a volcano erupt, maybe on television or in a movie? You can make your own small-scale eruption right in your kitchen! Or, if the weather is nice, this is a great outdoor project.

      What You Need:

      • empty plastic soda bottle (20 oz. size works well)
      • an aluminum pie plate or a dish with edges
      • modeling clay (or dirt if you're doing it outside)
      • white vinegar
      • red food coloring
      • baking soda
      • dish soap
      • water
      • tissue paper
      • thread
      • tablespoon

      What You Do:

      1. Fill the bottle about half full with vinegar. Add 2 or 3 drops of food coloring to make the vinegar red. Add a tablespoon of dish soap, then fill the bottle with water so it is about 3/4 of the way full.
      2. Gently swirl the bottle to mix everything together. Set the bottle in the middle of the pie plate.
      3. Use modeling clay or dirt to create a mountain around the bottle - it should go all the way up to the mouth of the bottle, but not up the sides of the pie plate.
      4. Make packets of baking soda by tearing tissue paper into small squares and filling each one with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Bring the corners of the tissue paper square together and tie a piece of thread around the paper to make a little packet filled with baking soda. Make several of these if you want to make your volcano erupt more than once.
      5. Carefully move your volcano to a place that is easy to clean up (outside is best). Drop one of the baking soda packets into the bottle and watch what happens!

      What Happened:

      Nothing much happened when you mixed the vinegar, water, dish soap, and food coloring. It was sort of like your volcano was "dormant" or asleep. When you dropped the packet of baking soda into the bottle, the vinegar soaked through the tissue paper and reacted with the baking soda and your volcano became active and had a big eruption! When the vinegar and baking soda mixed, they formed a gas called carbon dioxide. This gas created lots of little bubbles that quickly filled the bottle and overflowed and spilled down the sides of the mountain, similar to the way lava would erupt and flow out of a volcano. The red food coloring turned the bubbles red to look more like lava, and the soap helped create even more bubbles to erupt out of your volcano. Try dropping another packet of baking soda into your volcano once the first "eruption" slows down and see what happens. Was there enough vinegar left to cause another reaction? If nothing happens, all of the vinegar was used up in the first reaction, so pour a little more vinegar into the bottle to see it react again. Since this project is pretty messy, the best way to clean up is to dump everything out of the pie plate into the trash can.

      Earth's Layers

      What You Need:

      • a hard-boiled egg
      • an adult to help
      • a table knife

      What You Do:

      1. Carefully crack the egg's shell in three or four places. Don't crack it too hard - you just want to separate the shell into several large pieces, not shatter it into lots of little pieces.
      2. Have an adult help you use the table knife to cut the hard-boiled egg in half - cut it across the middle, not from end to end.
      3. Look at one half of the egg where you cut it. You should be able to see the shell around the outside, the white part, and the yolk.

      What Happened:

      The outer shell of the egg is similar to the earth's crust. When you cracked the shell into several large pieces, those pieces were similar to the tectonic plates on the earth's surface. Notice how the pieces stayed together even though they were separate. That's exactly how the earth's plates work - they can move around a little bit, but they all stay in the same general spot attached to the next layer of the earth. The middle white part of the egg represents the earth's mantle. The earth's mantle is much harder because it is made of rock. The inner yellow part - the egg yolk - represents the earth's core. The earth's core actually has two parts - the liquid outer core and the solid inner core. Read this Science Lesson to find out more about the layers of the earth!

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