Erupting Volcano – SICK Science

The volcanic activity in this kid-safe experiment is amazing.

Volcanoes have shaped history and science since the dawn of time. From the ultra-destructive Mount Vesuvius to the more recent Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland (good luck pronouncing that one), volcanic eruptions can dramatically alter the world with their massive blasts. Perhaps that’s why, for decades, students have been awed by the reproduction of volcanic eruptions by their teachers using vinegar and baking soda. We have come up with a way that you can replicate a volcanic blast without the stench of vinegar in your nostrils.

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Experiment Materials

  • Construction paper or card stock
  • Tape
  • Vitamin jar or container of similar size
  • Scissors
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Quick-rising yeast
  • Flat tray or pan
  • Metal spoon
  • Tablespoon
  • Measuring cup

Experiment Videos

Experiment

1

Cut a strip of construction paper that measures 8″ long by 3″ wide.

2

Using the strip of construction paper, form an open ended cone shape that is large enough to fit over the small container. Make sure that the smaller opening (top of the cone) is large enough to fit your metal spoon through. Tape the ends to secure the cone shape.

If necessary, cut the bottom of the cone to ensure that it stands upright on the tray.

3

Pour 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide into the container.

 

4

Place the container in the tray with the cone over the top of the bottle.

5

Using the spoon, pour 1/2 tablespoon of quick-rising yeast into the bottle and stir quickly.

6

Watch the eruption!

How Does It Work

The Erupting Volcano reaction creates a bubbly foam that shoots up and out of the bottle to run down the side of your paper cone. This foam is actually oxygen that is being released from the hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide will slowly release oxygen molecules on its own, but the addition of yeast as a catalyst speeds up the reaction and oxygen is released very rapidly. You may recognize this reaction from our kid-friendly version of Elephant’s Toothpaste. This is just another example of what you can do with this fun reaction. Can you think of more?

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