Lesson 5: Build A Volcano And Watch It Erupt

May 15, 2020 by Minerva Tutors,

You can watch the video here but you’ll need the instructions written below so have both tabs open: Minerva Tutors TV

What you’ll need to build your volcano
– Cardboard (a cut open cereal box is ideal, a base with slight folded-up sides)
– Plastic bottle (330ml up to 2l – the size and shape will dictate the proportions of your volcano!)
– Newspaper
– Glue and water or Flour and water
– Tape and Scissors
– Paint for decoration!

What kind of volcano do you want to build?

Jack taught us that there are four types of volcano: Cinder Cone, Composite, Shield and Lava Dome…so you need to decide which shape to go for before you build!

Build Different types of volcano


  • Fold up the edges of your base to act as a catch for any eruptions
  • Place the plastic bottle in the centre of the base and tape it down to hold it in place (four long pieces of tape – North, East, South and West – from the top of the bottle to the sides of the base works well)
  • Add balls of scrunched up newspaper around the bottle to act as scaffolding for the next step
  • Mix 1 part PVA glue or flour (e.g. 1 tablespoon) with 6 parts water (6 tablespoons) to make a paper mache paste
  • Cut strips of newspaper and soak them in the paste, overlapping them around your plastic bottle to shape the volcano. You can do some along the same lines as the tape you used to secure the bottle, and others around the bottle.
  • Repeat until it is all covered. Apply 2-3 layers until you get the volcano shape you are after. Let it dry for at least 24 hours.
  • Paint your volcano however you like, ready for next week’s lesson all about ERUPTIONS!

What you’ll need to create your eruption
– A glass of vinegar
– 3 or 4 tablespoons of baking soda
– Red food dye or a little red paint


  • Make sure your model volcano is on a large surface (like a table or kitchen counter) and place a something underneath and around it to protect the surface (like a stretched out bin liner)
  • Mix the red food dye or paint into the vinegar and carefully pour it into the bottle you have used for your volcano (a funnel may be useful here)
  • Add the baking soda as quickly and carefully as possible – you might like to fold a small piece of paper and use that to pour the baking soda in
  • Stand back and watch your volcano ERUPT!
  • You can wipe off your volcano, pour out any un-used vinegar and repeat the process to make it erupt again…

Send us a pic or video of your erupting VOLCANO to lawrence@minervatutors.com!

For more homeschooling lessons Visit our free resources page and for homeschooling videos see Minerva Tutors TV

Now, why don’t you try…?

…doing some research on the four types of volcano and HOW the different shapes are formed, and making a poster with pictures, drawings and explanations!

…making an illustrated list of the BIGGEST and MOST ACTIVE volcanoes in the world, with information about their size and most recent eruptions

…thinking about how you think we might be able to create lava erupt out of our home-made volcanoes (hint: we will need to use Chemistry)!

If you do any of these things, write in to us at lawrence@minervatutors.com!

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