Make a Volcano!

This time we build a real (model)!... or should that be hot?


First we need to something to mould into a volcano shape...some play dough!


  1. Mix 6 cups of flour, 2 cups of salt, 4 tablespoons of cooking oil, and 2 cups of water in a large bowl.
  2. Work the ingredients with your hands until smooth and firm. Add more water to the mixture if needed.


Next we have to build a volcanic mountain

  1. Stand an empty plastic softdrink bottle in a baking pan. Mold the play dough around the bottle making the slopes of the volcano up to the mouth of the bottle
  2. Fill the bottle most of the way with warm water mixed with a little red food colouring.
  3. Put 6 drops of the liquid detergent into the bottle and add 2 tablespoons of baking soda
  4. Slowly pour vinegar into the bottle and stand back...

A nice bubbly red 'lava' should flow out of your volcano!

This happens because of the baking soda and vinegar undergo a chemical reaction (a chemical reaction is a process in which one substance is chemically converted to another - all chemical reactions involve the formation or destruction of bonds between atoms) in which carbon dioxide gas is produced. The gas bubbles build up in the bottle, forcing the liquid 'lava' mixture out and down the sides of your volcano.


  1. Find out about a real volcano near you. When did it last erupt?
  2. Are volcanos evenly spread out around the Earth or can there be many in one place (what is the "Ring of Fire")?
  3. What should you do if there is a volcanic eruption near you?
  4. Often volcanic ash is acidic. What colour would Universal Indicator change to if some ash was in a sample of river water?

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