Volcanic Eruption!

Contributor: Kaitlyn Zimmerman. Lesson ID: 12808

Have you ever seen a mountain blow its top? Not get angry, but put on a major fireworks show! They can get so hot that they melt rock like crayons in the sun! Build your own (safe!) volcano!


Earth Science

learning style
personality style
Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Have you ever been near boiling water or sweated through a really hot day?

Those are temperatures of around 100 degrees.

  • How hot do you think it has to be to melt rock?

Read on to find out!

  • Did you know that lava can get as hot as almost 2,200°F (or 1,200°C)?

That is some really hot lava!

  • Have you ever imagined what it must be like to live at the foot of a volcano?

Many people — from centuries ago until now — have built their homes in these areas because the dirt near a volcano contains a lot of minerals and nutrients that plants need in order to grow. Italy, Hawaii, and Indonesia, are just a few countries or states where people live near volcanoes in order to grow crops in their rich soil.

  • Do you think it is worth the risk of living at the foot of a volcano in order to grow crops?

Sometimes, volcanoes can erupt without much warning. You may have heard many stories of volcanic eruptions, one in particular being the story of the Lost City of Pompeii.


The ancient Roman city of Pompeii was built at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, a volcano located in Italy. Very little is known about the city other than that it was quickly buried under ash after the volcano suddenly erupted. To them, it must have looked like ash raining from the sky.

Today, you can go visit the ruins of Pompeii - shown above - and see for yourself how close this city was to a volcano and how the eruption of just one volcano destroyed and buried the city for many years.

  • Can you imagine what it would be like to see ash falling from the sky?
  • Even worse, how would you feel if you saw lava coming out of a volcano?

For those who have seen a volcano erupt, it must have been a scary sight!

  • Would you like to see a volcano erupt?

Even though it may not be a real volcanic eruption, you can make the volcano model you made in the last Related Lesson, found in the right-hand sidebar, erupt!

  • Are you ready to give this a try?

Join Dr. Jo to find out how to make your volcano erupt!

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Volcanic eruptions can be both fascinating and scary in real life!

In this experiment, you were able to use materials that, when put together, bubbled up and caused a reaction. Even though the lava in this experiment was not as hot as real lava, you were still able to see how lava flows down the edges of a volcano and can cover anything in its path.

  • Before you move on, do you remember what you call the force that pushes magma and gas up out of the volcano and onto the earth's surface?

When you've got the answer, continue on to the Got It? section to dive more deeply (sort of!) into volcanoes!

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