Saturday, February 4, 2012

Unintended Realism

I wanted to do a volcano experiment at home. We had played around with baking soda and vinegar before, but not in volcano form. I knew the children would really enjoy it. I just wanted to do it in a way that the model could be reused time and time again.

I had a brilliant idea. I took a plastic needlepoint sheet and made a cone out of it. I held it in shape with fishing line. Then I hot glued glass gems all over it and glued the thing into a plastic container. It was all easy to rinse, let dry, and use again. it is. I thought it turned out pretty well for about an hour of work. Note: Exhibit A

I gathered the vinegar, baking soda, and food coloring and filled a flower vase tube with some baking soda and inserted it into the top of the volcano. Note: Exhibit B

We mixed up some red vinegar and poured it in. It worked beautifully. Note: Exhibit C

I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. The children were asking to see it again and again. I knew that the whole thing would rinse easily and dry in a couple of hours. I was mentally patting myself on the back.

Then suddenly there was a loud cracking sound and one of the glass gems shot off the side of the mountain. This was quickly followed several more. And then many more. Apparently the baking soda and vinegar reaction was releasing the hot glue. They achieved a pretty surprising distance. I told the children it was like a real volcano shooting out rocks. I suppose the effect of shooting rocks fit the volcano theme rather well. And the children absolutely loved it. But my volcano was disintegrating before my eyes.

And this is what was left. Note: Exhibit D.

Sigh. Any suggestions for a better method of attaching the glass gems?

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