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Making things go BOOM! – Oatmeal Dough Volcano

December 16, 2010

The boys had been waiting for this day for two weeks. They’d seen it scheduled on the calendar, and were so excited it was almost like it was Christmas. I spent the 2 science days before prepping for our project. We read books, we watched videos of how volcanoes explode, we drew diagrams. But nothing was sinking in. They just wanted to make that volcano go boom.

V-Day finally arrived, and the boys made the most of it. We used a big can and fashioned a cone around it with aluminum foil and then stuffed it with scrap paper and newspaper.

We used an Oatmeal Dough recipe I found online, doubled, to create the ‘volcano’, and packed it on to create the cone.

Oatmeal Playdough

Oatmeal Playdough

  • 1 C flour
  • 2 C oatmeal
  • 1 C water
  • 1/4 C instant coffee  added into the water (this is approximate. It’s been long enough that I don’t remember how much I used)

Mix oatmeal, flour and coffee together. Gradually add water to mix. Knead. If mixture is not dark enough, you can add more instant coffee. It will help change color and give brown flakes in your dough. You can also add cornmeal to the mix if you want more ‘texture’, but I felt this was pretty textured enough.

We then took chunks of the dough, flattened it out, and molded it onto the cone. The boys then took green playdough and molded it into clumps of trees and added it for emphasis. We also grabbed some rocks and put them in, as well.

Typical mixture of baking soda and vinegar (mixed with a bit of red food coloring) allowed us a general idea of the burst and flow, without a big mess. We toyed with the idea of a modified Mentos & Diet Coke explosion, but I didn’t want to rebuild the volcano with the needed pressure mechanism. It would’ve been way cool, though!

I didn’t bother post-testing them that day,  knowing when we do our semester on geology we’ll study volcanoes again, and I can pretest for how much they’ve remembered.  But both of them can pretty much quote everything that happened that day, even a year later.

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