School project: volcano

A few weeks ago the 7yo came home with his latest school project…

They have been studying landforms and each child was asked to make a model of a landform – from lakes to lagoons, beaches to bays, glaciers to archipelagos (yes, really!). The 7yo got volcano.

I was actually quite relieved about this, it seemed like one of the easier ones – and I thought we could probably have some fun with it!

Several notes came home about this project. It was to be their own work (!), they got extra marks for originality and number of features marked, and they had to write a song to go with it (to the tune of Bingo…).

My husband was going to be in the UK for most of the potential project development time, so I got him to help build the underlying structure of it before he left. I had expected something to be put together using stacked tins and tubs, but he and the 7yo had other ideas. They found a small bucket…

This is where the ‘all their own work’ thing gets tricky! The bucket needed to be secured into a base, and the top of the bucket had to be drilled out…!

The following steps are only needed should you choose to go down the bucket route… I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, but it did make for a very solid model.

1. Cut out squares of cardboard, large enough to leave some ‘land’ around your volcano (our base was made from pizza boxes!). We used three squares, two to make a solid base (which we stapled together) and a third to go over the bucket and secure it.
2. Draw around your bucket then cut out a circle, in one of the sheets of card, that is a bit smaller than the ‘lip’ so that when you the place the cardboard over the bucket the lip of the bucket is caught by the cardboard.
3. Drill out the top of the bucket and sand down the edges (only if you need to to see inside the volcano – or in our case, have lava and rocks flowing out of it!).
4. Secure the bucket between the two sheets of cardboard and tape up the edges.

Once the structure was ready, we were all set to let the 7yo get on with it!

First, we headed to the craft store to pick up supplies. I wanted the 7yo to help choose his materials and have as much input into the final project as possible.

This is what we bought:
Fast Mâché (like papier mâché, but ready to mix)
Acrylic paints – green, brown, black, red, orange, yellow and white (and blue because the 7yo wanted to have a lake too!)
Polystyrene balls (the 7yo wanted rocks exploding out of it…)
Florist wire (for the rocks!)
Moss for ground cover (although in the end we didn’t use it)
[we could have also picked up a polystyrene cone and base, which might have been rather simpler, but hey ho!).

We also used red tissue paper and glitter glue.

5. Mix the Fast Mâché (or make your own) and start to build out the shape of the volcano. I should have scored the surface of the bucket as it was tricky to get the stuff to stick (although it stuck nicely to our hands!). In the end I had to help the 7yo get a thin layer of the gloop on first, which we allowed to dry over night. He was then able to build out a second layer by himself, creating the shape of the volcano (and a lake and a plateau…!). I have no photos of the first layer, as I was covered in the sticky, yucky stuff!
6. Once the mâché has dried you can paint the volcano. The 7yo made a lovely job of painting the volcano brown, complete with rockslides. The lava was a mix of red and orange. The base was painted green, except for his lake! I have no photos of this stage… Hubby had been gone for four days at that point and I wasn’t at my best! You’ll get the idea from the finished article :)

7. Paint your ‘rocks’. They played a great game of ‘dry the rock’ over one of our heating vents!
8. Thread your rocks on to the wire and secure inside the volcano, so that the rocks are flying out… Again, some adult help was needed here – hubby (who had thankfully returned in time for the final stages!) secured the wires up through the bottom of the base, making them much stronger and safer, securely taping them in place. I didn’t mind that the 7yo needed a bit of help here as the rocks had been entirely his idea in the first place – and it was such a good, inventive idea :) No photos of this either!
9. Add your finishing touches – we used red tissue paper as lava and glitter glue for a bit of sparkle.

The finished article:

And, just for completeness, here is his song, first and last lines supplied by the teacher…(to be sung to Bingo!):

There is a landform on our globe, volcano is it’s name-o,
Magma fills the chamber,
Magma fills the chamber,
Magma fills the chamber,
Volcano is it’s name-o.

There is a landform on our globe, volcano is it’s name-o,
Lava explodes from it,
Lava explodes from it,
Lava explodes from it,
Volcano is it’s name-o.

There is a landform on our globe, volcano is it’s name-o,
May have killed the dinosaurs,
May have killed the dinosaurs,
May have killed the dinosaurs,
Volcano is it’s name-o.

He was very determined to get that last point in :)

All in all, successful project! Marks awaited with baited breath :)

I’ve linked this post up to #PoCoLo from Verily, Victoria Vocalises.

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29 thoughts on “School project: volcano”

  1. Pingback: mumturnedmom: School project: volcanoLove All Blogs

  2. That seems quite advanced for a seven year old! I’m glad he enjoyed it and I bet it embedded all the features in his head. He also got assigned a good, fun one to make.

  3. It was an easy one, but you all definitely put a lot of effort into it and the result is spectacular! Especially like the fact that they had to write a song to go with it – the project makes use of all their mental faculties. I also pinned this on my board :)

  4. How strange – a 7yr old boy wanting to somehow get dinosaurs into his song ;-) They go straight from ‘Thomas’ to ‘T. Rex’, don’t they!

    Brilliant volcano – I just gave my some a tin of Andrews liver salts and a glass of water, but I’m a very lazy dad :) #PoCoLo

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