We are in full volcano mode at our house.
I remember that first homemade volcano we crafted as a homeschool family. We carefully molded the clay, painted it, shaped boulders, and once complete, positioned it in the aluminum tray. Everything we had worked for over the past few days came down to that glorious moment.
While the six and seven-year-olds were “measuring” baking soda and vinegar, the three-year-old announced she needed one more thing. Rushing off, she returned with safety goggles (she has always been my most prepared and responsible child). Stationed and ready, they combined the ingredients in our make shift magma chamber and experienced the joy of that bubbly, food-coloring-drenched vinegar smell that should mark any legitimate study on volcanoes. After the perfectly executed volcano, the child in goggles reported with all sincerity, “Mommy! Good thing it didn’t explode the house!”
That’s a parenting win. We didn’t explode the house.
And for a throwback, here’s chubby little cheeks.
This is proof you can trust me when I say we have some volcano experience here. LOL 🙂
From Volcanos to Attending
While we are still completely into the baking soda and vinegar volcano (I’m pretty sure one child emptied a gallon of vinegar this week), we just discovered you can erupt an underwater volcano too! You literally just put baking powder in the chamber and submerge it in water. I don’t know how I’ve missed this all my life. Here’s a pic of what ours looked like in the water. (Yes, these days our volcanoes involve less clay and paint.)
Our discovery brought about a new level of attending. As a result, we observed more closely and more eagerly.
From Attending to Wonder
What I loved about this experiment is all the wonder my children expressed. I think we can attribute most of that to Classical Conversations teaching us to attend, and to question, and to wonder, and to marvel.
Our tutors on community day this year have been amazing. I’m the kind of mom that just wants a good procedure to follow, and from there we can nail it. By contrast, our tutors have done an amazing job modeling how to ask good questions, how to think about what we already know and make connections, and how to discover questions to research. As a result, my teaching science at home has transformed. Instead of simply following steps, we are exploring this world God created and are eager to search out more understanding. This is just one way our CC community has been so good for our family.
From Wonder to Research
With our underwater volcano, here are some things we wondered and, consequently, researched. Maybe they will springboard your family into wonder and new discoveries!
- Do volcanos really erupt under water?
- What does the lava look like?
- Is it still called lava if it’s underwater?
- Can you see it from the surface? Where does the lava go?
- How often do underwater volcanos occur?
- What is the difference between baking soda and baking powder?
- How do they react in water? Will they dissolve?
- Why did the powder go up?
With eagerness, you can lead your kids in finding a book about a topic, performing additional experiments, or observing something more closely.
From Old to New
What old, ordinary, everyday encounter can you wonder about?
- The familiar sunset as you drive
- The common household appliance as you do chores
- The favorite science activity they’ve seemed to repeat a million times
In every old activity, we can find new wonder.