Thursday, December 29, 2016

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Dry Ice Volcano STEM Challenges

This dry ice volcano is part of our dry ice experiments series!

Volcanoes are another favorite science activity for our preschoolers (our rainbow volcano and no-vinegar volcanoes are always popular!), so when we started experimenting with dry ice making a volcano was at the top of the list!

Just making a volcano is almost too simple for our crew, so I came up with a few STEM challenges to let them explore and investigate with the dry ice.

SAFETY NOTE: Be very careful with dry ice! Do NOT touch it directly. We used tongs and/or a small measuring cup.

Depending on the age and ability of your kiddos, they may need more or less supervision. Always supervise activities with dry ice.

Supplies Needed:

* dry ice and something to handle it with safely

* something to make a volcano with (we used soil outside)

* timer (if you choose challenge #1)

* thermometer (if you choose the bonus challenge)

* ruler (if you choose the bonus challenge)

Dry Ice Volcano STEM Challenge 1: Make a volcano (with dry ice and supplies you find outside) that blows steam for more than a minute. 

This is not hard, and is a great starter project or dry ice experiment for younger kiddos. Our volcano was mostly made from dirt, then a piece of dry ice was placed in the middle "caldera." More dirt was added to cover it up, and a little water on the dry ice made a lot of steam!

Dry Ice Volcano STEM Challenge 2: Make a volcano that blows a top off! Hint: a leaf works great!

Dry Ice Volcano STEM Challenge 3: Make a volcano with a side vent! Volcanoes in real life don't always shoot straight up, so we want to model that too! 

When we finished working with the dry ice, we pulled it out of its crater and saw that the dirt touching it had frozen. The dirt on the outside, however, seemed totally normal. This led to the bonus challenge. (It also related to our comet model, but that post will be up soon!) The picture below shows the frozen dirt (pretty cool!!):

Bonus challenge: Does the dry ice change the temperature of the volcano? How deep does the temperature penetrate?

More about STEM & the dry ice volcano challenges:

STEM is a way of exploring that integrates science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects. We love STEM activities and challenges because they integrate so many subjects and give our kiddos a chance to problem solve and create. This STEM project includes the following subjects:

SCIENCE: chemistry, dry ice (carbon dioxide), scientific reasoning, hypothesizing, testing, and analyzing
TECHNOLOGY: ruler, timer, thermometer, tools used to build the volcano
ENGINEERING: designing a volcano
MATHEMATICS: measuring

Be sure to check out our other dry ice experiments

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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