Make a model volcano that erupts just like a real volcano.
Model volcanoes replicate the shape and structure of a volcano on a small scale. Students can create model volcanoes for science projects, or teachers can create volcanoes for demonstration purposes. You can make model volcanoes to erupt through chemical reactions so that they replicate the eruption of an actual volcano.
Simple Paper Model Volcano
You can make a simple model volcano from paper. You can design your own template on a large piece of paper or use a template available from the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Hazards Program website. The Earthquake Hazards Program provides several templates that you can print on a sheet of regular printer paper, then cut and assemble.
To create your own template, cut a large semicircle from a piece of paper. Assemble the paper by wrapping it into a cone and securing with glue or tape. Decorate the outside of the paper with crayons, markers or paints to resemble a volcano.
Do not use paper model volcanoes with chemical solutions to erupt, since the paper can become damaged.
Paper Mache Model Volcano
Paper mache model volcanoes are simple to make with household supplies. Use a clean empty plastic bottle as the base. Tape or glue the bottle to a large piece of cardboard. Place strips of masking tape near the opening of the bottle and stretch them to a few inches away from the bottom of the bottle, creating a cone shape with the tape. Mix flour and water in a large container, then tear strips of newspaper and place them in the solution. Stretch the wet newspaper from one piece of tape to the next piece of tape and continue until the entire structure has been covered. Allow the volcano to dry before painting. You can make the volcano erupt by putting vinegar and baking soda into the opening of the bottle.
Clay Model Volcano
Clay model volcanoes are realistic looking and hold up well when creating explosions. Wrap brown modeling clay around a plastic bottle to create the volcano. You can also make your own clay using equal parts or salt and flour and adding enough water to mix them together. Allow clay to dry fully before using your volcano. You can paint clays to look realistic, or you can add pieces of moss or grass at the bottom to create vegetation. To erupt the volcano, mix vinegar with a small amount of liquid soap and red dye and place it into the bottle. Add baking soda and the mixture will bubble.
Smoking Volcano Model
A smoking volcano model should be completed by an adult or with the help of an adult. Stack two tin cans on top of each other for the base, leaving the opening at the top. Use foil to create the model in a cone shape around the cans and then use a small amount of rolled-out clay to cover the foil. Allow the clay to dry before creating an eruption. Mix equal parts sulfur and ammonium dichromate. In an open, well ventilated area, light the mixture. When the chemicals begin to burn they will smoke and create ash like a real volcano.
When creating model volcanoes, work in a well ventilated area so you don’t inhale fumes. Work with an adult when creating eruptions and take precautions prior to handling chemicals.