Geography Functional Chapter 1 Experiment 6 Volcanism

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  • Experiment 6: In a 9 inch square or round pand, make a volcano out of paper mache, clay or salt dough with a paper cup at the top center.
               vinegar, baking soda, liquid soap,red flood coloring, sand, powdered carbon, and soil.



  • Teacher should have conducted the First Great Lesson: God Who Has No Hands/The Universe Story before beginning these experiments.
  • Chapter 1 of Functional Geography is Formation of the Earth and includes Impressionistic Charts 1-6
  • Functional geography curriculum focuses on a presentation of the world in terms of the active and functioning processes affecting the earth as a planet in the sun's family. Geography examines the social and cultural contexts of the world while functional geography explores the geological and astronomical contexts of the earth in the universe.
  • When we teach functional geography to the child, we are both performing and recording with words and pictures the forces affecting our planet earth.
  • Functional Geography is presented to the child as an experiment which isolates a concept and then an impressionistic chart which makes a visual impression.


Experiment 6 is part of the FORMATION OF THE EARTH experiments: Now, we will talk about our earth. It was not always as it is today. The next experiments and charts (Charts 3, 4, and 5) show the phases through which the earth has gone. They show the earth before life was possible on it.

Experiment 6: In this experiment, the exact process of the functioning of a volcano is not given. This experiment gives only a sensorial impression.

1. Place sand,powdered carbon, soil, food coloring, baking soda and liquid soap inside the cup that is at the top of the volcano. 2. Pour the vinegar into the cup mixture.

Record your observation:

(The volcano is a vent in the earth's crust, from which materials of very high temperature erupt. One part of the material, by solidifying, accumulates around the opening itself, forming a volcanic neck.)


(We have said that the volcano released much gases and ashes. We do not know how it happened, but eventually this cloud of gases and ashes released rain on to the earth.)


IMPRESSIONISTIC CHART 4: The Time of the Volcano

    The surface of the earth became so cold that it formed a thin crust. But, from the interior, the hot gases kept breaking this crust, forming a myriad of volcanoes. The volcanos let out gases and ashes. These gases and ashes finally surrounded the earth like a cloud. This cloud shielded the earth from the sun's rays. In this way, the cooling process was accelerated.

Control Of Error

Points Of Interest

The classified nomenclature is usually presented before the impressionistic charts and after the experiments, but can also be parallel to the charts. Since the classified nomenclature can be very long, it is not necessary to present all of the classified nomenclature before beginning the charts.


  • The Montessori methodology first gives the concept of the formation of the earth through experiments. These experiments are the key to giving the child the concrete verification that the universe is not a static universe, but one in which elements are in motion.


  • Usually, the teacher presents the experiment first, and the the child does it independently using the direction card for directions. With the older children, the experiments are presented in a more scientific way.


Research projects: 1. Mark on a world map the position of active volcanoes 2. Draw a map of North America and locate the active volcanoes (designating them in red) and extinct volcanoes (designating them in black). 3. Look for articles about the old cities of Pompeii and Ercolano. 4. Research the different types of volcanoes (composite/stratovolcano, cinder cone, shield) and how they may form.