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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How to Make a Volcano

My class of nine year old cherubics have been studying a science unit on land forms this term and my Grade Four colleagues decided it would be a good idea to have the students make paper mache volcanoes. The idea was to invite parents in to watch a dramatic eruption of bi-carbonate of soda and red-tinged vinegar spew forth from the magnificent creations.

I was understandably hesitant but eventually buckled under peer pressure from the other bossy teachers.

Of course I researched the process on Google and was unimpressed with the spectacular mess I could see would inevitably be part of this folly.

I'd like to forewarn and forearm anyone who may be considering embarking on such a senseless venture.

Step 1

Collect as many empty cling wrap and Alfoil cylinders you can. They can be cut in three and blu-tacked onto paper plates as above. Do not be foolish enough to bring empty toilet rolls into the classroom. The children will react with hysteria and spend all their time examining the rolls for residual poo. If you are somehow able to reassure the kids the toilet rolls were nuked in a microwave to get rid of germs, your own children will refuse to ever use the microwave again and you'll have to buy a new one.

If you run out of cling wrap rolls because, even though you're a primary school teacher you can't work out what twenty-six divided by three is, then you can always make cylinders out of cardboard.

Always use a flour based glue for the paper mache because when someone becomes over excited and flaps a glue-sodden hand in the air causing Clag-based glue to spray in your eyes it can really sting. 

Believe me because I know.

Flour and Water Glue

Don't be a know-it-all. Always do your research. Just because you assume one cup of flour in 10 litres of water will make glue doesn't mean it does. It will just make slightly cloudy water. It's one cup of flour to one cup of water. Read the instructions readily available on the Internet.

Ensure you carry the glue to the various tables. If you let one of your minions do it they'll most definitely spill it, not tell you about it in their anticipatory flurry and you'll slip over on it. 

You'll jar your neck. It won't be bad enough to warrant worker's compensation but just bad enough to give you a stiff, whip-lashed neck for a week.

Step 2

Rip up the newspaper before the boys can get to it and start chortling over the underwear advertisements. Don't wipe your hands on your face afterwards or you'll wind up doing your grocery shopping that afternoon looking like a chimney sweep.

What do you call a group of volcanoes?

Step 3- Painting the volcano

When you get to the painting stage only put out red and brown paint. If you give them a choice the girls will all paint their volcanoes like a rainbow and add a plethora of jaunty unicorns grazing on its psychedelic slopes. It will take away the authenticity of the project.

An 'Irritation of Volcanoes'?

Finally, whatever you do don't make the volcanoes two weeks ahead of when you actually need them. You'll have to store them on the floor and the largest boy in your class; the one with precocious growth development, the one who looks like he might need to shave in the morning, will tumble over on top of at least six of the hideous things. There'll be rabid histrionics in the classroom and you'll have to start the whole bloody process again.

Next week! How to make a working simulation of the Hadron Collider!

(Just joking).

What's your best craft project story?

Linking up with Trish from My Little Drummer Boys! My Little Drummer Boys