World Tour – Mount Vesuvius

As we’ve studied the Epcot countries this summer, we’ve done more than study their most famous landmarks and desserts (although we’ve done a fair amount of that).  My Little Man loves animals and science, so we went to the National Geographic website.  Their kids’ site is great and includes short videos of issues within many countries and popular animals there.  The scenic photos  are wonderful, as well.

Since science and weather are some of his favorite subjects, we couldn’t study Italy without studying Mount Vesuvius!  We read Magic Tree House’s Vacation under the Volcano  and the Magic School Bus Blows Its Top:  A Book About Volcanoes.  (The MSB book actually gave lots of information about the science behind volcanoes and the terminology for all of the parts.  I was very impressed with this book.  For days afterward, my Little Man was correcting his big sister’s scientific vocabulary!)  We also read a book that described the parts of a Roman household and what daily life was like (sorry, I can’t remember the title) – and then it was time to act!

We moved this project outside to the driveway, where my Little Man digs everything up daily.  Armed with shovels and rakes, I asked the kids to outline their own Roman city with the rocks in the driveway.

Surprisingly, it took a little while – but then they began to build Vesuvius off to one side and to use leaves, rocks, and twigs to outline streets, houses, and the Roman baths (they loved that part of the city!).

Then came the true test of its strength.  I added some baking soda to the inside of the volcano, and they took turns pouring vinegar into it.  They LOVED how it bubbled and flowed, and they theorized how much of each they would need to add to get the “lava” to flow down the mountain and into the city.

Acid/base volcanoes aren’t anything new, and my kids have made them before – but when their own city faced certain ruin, this project took on a whole new meaning!

How do you teach earth science to your little ones?

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