Volcano Activities for First Grade Volcano Day!

Do you teach your elementary students about volcanoes? Here's a whole day's worth of volcano activities for kids! I've included a volcano experiment freebie here too! Read on for more volcano activities for first grade!

Three Fridays ago I hosted Volcano Day in my first grade classroom! We had been finishing up our study on Landforms, and I thought it would be a fun way to celebrate! My idea came from A Day in First Grade and as soon as I saw Kristen's post, I knew I had to do it with my class!

We started our day off like we do every morning, with our "morning meeting" on the floor by the chalkboard. I had been eluding to this special day previously, and as soon as "Vol..." came out of my mouth, I had hands raised (and, let's be real, voices talking who I had NOT called on) wanting to share stories and experiences (and made-up stories) about volcanoes. No joke, we spent almost twice as long in morning meeting than we usually do! But they had so much fun sharing, that I let them do so. Once they had gotten most of their stories told, we moved on into our morning meeting, did a bit of morning work, and got started!

We began with this anchor chart, that I basically copied from the blog post above. I also found this poster (on the right) in my school's library/extra teaching materials. It was PERFECT! We also skimmed a book about volcanoes, practiced our vocabulary, and had some great discussion. It blew their minds that magma and lava is the same thing, but is called something different depending on where it is (inside or outside the earth).

Then, we learned the Volcano Song! Oh.My.Gosh. my students LOVED it! It's a lot of fun, and they sang it all day long!

After that, we got our paint on! I decided to do the craft that Kristen did with her first graders. We colored white cardstock green for the grass (on the bottom) and blue for the sky (on top). I wanted to make sure that it would dry before we finished the craft, so we did the painting in the morning.

After our paintings were hung to dry, we got started on our science experiment sheet. I explained to the students how scientists write down the different parts to their experiments, their predictions, observations,, etc. and how we would be doing the same! Here is the simple experiment sheet I made for free download, if you'd like to use it!

I thought (and pinned) about the different experiments we could try, but went back to the oldie but goodie... baking soda and vinegar! We spiced it up with red food coloring too. When in Tanzania, things like dish soap and other options are either expensive, or just not available. This experiment was inexpensive, and just as fun for the students! We started by going over the materials we would be using, and wrote them in the first blank space... baking soda, vinegar, red food coloring, plastic bottle. Then, we made predictions on what they think would happen. We had a lot of students that said that it would EXPLODE and others said FIRE would come out! I, of course, didn't say anything and let them discover it for themselves. I LOVE hearing their predictions! Their imaginations are INCREDIBLE!!!

After our writing time, we went outside to a grassy (confined) area to do our experiment. I started by having them all sit on the curb (see picture below), and put my empty bottle on a box in the grass. I had one student pour in the vinegar, another  the food coloring, and then another to pour in the baking soda. They LOVED seeing it erupt!
And then it was their turn to try it out! I paired the students up, gave them each a bottle, and came around to give the materials.

 Each team got two rounds of erupting, and they took turns with the different jobs. Look at those two cuties! Smiles all around!

 They had so much fun experimenting with the amount of baking soda to vinegar!

 I'm blessed to have an AMAZING teacher's assistant, Sarah, and she was so helpful with this experiment! The kids crowded around every time there was an eruption to see it!!

They could have done this for HOURS if I would have let them! It was tons of fun!

By the end of it, our hands were red, and fun was had by all! Just remember to keep an eagle eye on all of your students! I had one who tried to DRINK the experiment (WHOOPS!).

After we had experimented (and after lunch), we reflected on what we had seen. We wrote down our observations and drew a picture of what happened.

Lastly, we finished our craft from earlier. I previously cut out mountains and they pasted them onto their now dry papers.
 Sorry for the blurry photo- it's the only one I snapped of this part of the project!

 And then we went a-sprayin'! I found a couple of random hairspray bottles in my cabinet (though I wish I would have had a better spray bottle). I filled them with about 1/4 paint to 3/4 water, because the nozzles were finer. One had red paint the other had yellow. I had the students come outside with me one by one (while my TA was inside with the kids helping them finish up their writing and watching them) and helped them spray some paint onto their volcano, to make it look like it was erupting! For some reason, the students struggled with getting the bottle to spray, so I had to help them a lot. I think they turned out SUPER cute though!

We definitely had SO much fun, and learned a lot too! Teaching in Tanzania is hard sometimes, especially when I don't have access to all of the resources in the States. But I love when I can share a bit of my childhood with my firsties, and give them fun learning experiences!  I also love doing themed days like this, to mix it up a bit! Let me know if you do Volcano Day in your classroom! I'd love to hear about it!

Much Love, Allie