Sunday, March 16, 2008

And Then The Volcano Erupted And There Was Lava and Laughter.

A Volcanic Conclusion
to the School Week

It was a great conclusion to the week. Also, and this is so important, the single presentation of creating a volcano brought together at least a half a dozen other materials/work on the shelves. My assistant, Cristina, sat with me for a moment after the children were dismissed and together we named the works that prepared the children for making a volcano and to have it erupt:

1. Practical Life: using a pitcher, using a sponge, pouring work, estimating how much liquid to put in a container via flower arranging, the making of and usage of play-doh and, after doing the clay work required to make a volcano, hand washing.

2. Science : Color mixing, "Dancing Raisins" (which required all but one ingredient used in the volcano work).

3. Geography : Several materials, including those related to the solar system, attributed to the umbrella title - Land Forms, and the land and water globe.

4. Math : Estimation, measuring liquid and powdered quantities - including the new measurement presented with the volcano work - a "pinch."

Let's not forget - cycle of activity, control of movement, ability to commit to purposeful work, attention to detail, effort to perfect work, increased periods of concentration, understanding the difference between work and play, and - last but not least - trust of the adults presenting. Oh, and so many more...

First, I put on my apron and got out the appropriate place mats for science work. Then, using the clay materials and one of the containers used in making land forms, I began molding and shaping a volcano while the children watched. I emphasized that the bottom must be cup-like so that the ingredients did not seep out. After spending several minutes shaping the volcano, I took a second tray from the shelf which I had prepared early in the day.

On this tray were the following items:

Canister of baking soda
A small white spoon / spoon rest
Small pitcher
A container with a sealed lid for baking yeast.

Most of the materials were colored coded blue. The white spoon matched the substance it was to be used for - baking soda.

After removing the items from the second tray. I used the single pitcher for both the water and the vinegar (which is added last). First I poured the water into the top of the volcano and made an exaggerated gesture looking for water seepage - there was none. Next, I put one heaping spoonful of baking soda into the volcano and three pinches of yeast. I took a deep breath, made eye contact with the children, who were absolutely silent, and poured the pitcher of vinegar into the opening. The "lava" bubbled and brewed and then "erupted" overflowing down the sides of the volcano. The children burst into laughter. The yeast made the lava appear more solid. It was a visual spectacle.

Next, I asked what the color of lava was. The children answered: red, yellow, orange. My assistant Cristina brought the color mixing tray to the table. She continued the lesson so I could photograph the work. First she mixed red and yellow together to make orange and then she poured the colored water into the volcano ( I had already washed out the earlier ingredients without causing damage to the clay structure). She continued with the remaining ingredients. When the "lava" flowed it was almost pink and at the base of the volcano orange. The children again burst into laughter, a testimony to the utter delight on their faces as they watched the presentation.

Materials placed on mat.

1. Colored water poured into small pitcher

2. Pitcher of water poured into volcano

3. Baking soda was added and then 3 pinches of baking yeast.

4. A pitcher of vinegar added.

5. Colored lava flow.

Then came the chorus: "Can I do that work?" "I want to do it first." I explained to them that it was recess time and that we would be dismissing from the playground. "You may each have a chance to do the work next week," I explained as I began to cleaning up. This is something that I often do - present science materials at the end of the day. I present language, math, sensorial and practical life during the beginning and middle of the day. Presentations that I know are going to be very popular, I give at the end of the day which allows the "hot" new item a cooling off period. It works in my room. I will have my camera ready Monday morning!

1 comment:

Julie said...

my son learned about volcanoes this week. I saved your post to use as a reference. Here are our pictures: