Friday, August 26, 2016

How to Make a Volcano

Here is our completed volcano!
Our first Great Lesson in the Montessori Elementary Classroom is God with No Hands.  The final demonstration for that story is the very exciting VOLCANO!!  I have included some steps on how we made ours.  It is by far not the greatest or creative, but this is what we ended up with.  
We started with a diaper box because I didn't have any other cardboard box available at the time.  It actually worked out to be quite the perfect size.  You really just need any size of cardboard box that is high enough for the bottle you are using.  I chose to just use my empty rootbeer bottle, but we have plenty of empty beer bottles as well.  The bottle should be placed in the middle of the box, a little towards the back.  I cut the box a little taller than the height of the bottle and then left a small edge on all of the other sides.  I also cut a hole in the bottom of the box to take the bottle out for an easy cleanup.

I then covered the bottle with a bag so that I could easily take it out of the volcano after we paper mached it.  This way the bottle didn't stick to the paper mache.

Then we cut strips of cardboard from the leftover box.  We wadded up some old magazine pages and put them around the bottle to form the volcano shape.  We used masking tape to connect the cardboard strips together.  It looks a little crazy at this point, but stick with it and it will start to look more like a volcano.

Here comes the fun part: PAPER MACHE!!  I have always been intimidated by these words, but it is actually so easy to do.  Ok, it is very messy, but it worked.  You will need quite a few paper towels, cut into long strips.  For the paper mache mixture, we used 2 parts water to 2 parts flour + 1 T of salt to act as a preservative.  We ended up using about 8 cups of flour by the time we were done.

Bubs was our dipper.  He didn't care to make the actual volcano shape.  Kui did that part.  He dipped each paper towel strip in the mixture and then Kui wrapped it around the cardboard strips that we taped together.
This is what it looks like as you get a few strips in place.  We then covered the whole inside and then over the edge a little to make sure we made it more waterproof.

This is what it looked like after we were done with the paper mache.  It had to dry in the sun for two solid days!!  I think maybe we saturated the cardboard box just a little more than we should have.  Good thing we have the summer sun to help dry it out!
Then you can paint it to your liking.  We have the background painted blue, the ground is green with spots of lighter green and brown, the volcano is brown, and we added some red paint to mimic the lava that will come out when we erupt the volcano.  There is a more detailed description at
I have included the Geography Command Card here so that you know how to present this demonstration along with the measurements for the eruption.  Just a note:  We had to add a little more baking soda and vinegar than what the card suggests to make it overflow really well.
Have fun and enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. This is a great tutorial on the volcano making! I've sent a few people this direction ;)

    It makes sense to use more quantity of baking soda vinegar with the bottle, since the Keys instruction card assumes a volcano with a container about 2 inches deep and maybe 2 inches across. But baking soda and vinegar are cheap and SO much fun!