Lunar and Planetary Institute






Activities about Volcanism

Lava Layering
Students learn about the stratigraphy of lava flows produced by multiple eruptions, by modeling those flows using play dough. Additional extensions include asking students to graph the flows on graph paper, asking teams to trade volcanos and based on their observations, estimate the extent and number of the other teams' flows, and using clear straws to take core samples.

Gelatin Volcanos
In this experiment clear gelatin, molded in bowls or bread pans, is used as transparent models of volcanic landforms and colored water is used as the dike-forming magma . Students observe how "magma" moves up from underground reservoirs, called magma chambers, to erupt as lava on planetary surfaces.

Cake Batter Lava
In this demonstration, students understand some of the geological processes and the structures that form as lava flows across planetary landscapes by using cake batter as an analog for lava.