I found each of the experiments in this three-part geology series for young kids in the book, Kindergarten Success, by Jill Frankel Hauser. The first, from the book, is “Igneous Meltdown”, an exploration in how magma (rock melted deep in the earth from heat and pressure) flows out of the earth as lava, which, as it cools and hardens, becomes igneous rock.
Note… this experiment involves indulging in sweets! This was really fun for my son, as he’s never had a chocolate sundae in his life. We don’t eat a lot of sweets in our household, so this was a pretty special thing!
Here’s what you’ll need: Chocolate chips (different kinds if desired… chocolate, white chocolate, peanut butter, and/or butterscotch), a microwave safe bowl, a plate, and ice cream.
Step 1: Put the chocolate (and other if using) chips into the microwave safe bowl. Microwave the chips until melt into “magma”. Talk with your child about magma and how and where it’s made (deep in the earth, melted from the heat). We mixed semi-sweet chocolate chips with white-chocolate chips.
Step 2: Create a “volcano” out of ice cream on the plate.
Step 3: Pour the melted chocolate (lava… melted rock). Explain to your child that this is like lava flowing down the sides of the volcano.
Step 4: Before eating, allow the “lava” to cool down until it’s hard. Discuss that, as the “lava” hardens and cools, it becomes “igneous rock”.
Step 5: Now enjoy! It’s yummy!
Follow-Up: This would be a great time to read the book, Volcanoes, from the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out series.
My son has some great chunks of lava in his rock collection that he found while we were staying near Truckee over the summer. We pulled them out and compared them to the cooled chunks of chocolate. They looked pretty similar!
This is the first of three science projects I’ll be doing with my 5-year-old this week in celebration of “Earth Science Week.” See “It’s Earth Science Week!” for more information.