Science is Wonderful!

Jane and Bridie were in Brussels in September taking up the challenge to ‘present your research in an exciting encounter with many fledgling future scientists’ at the Science is Wonderful! exhibition of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. 

Pumice, rhyolite, scoria, basalt, granite, gabbro: bubble-rich or dense? dark-coloured or light? coarse-grained or fine? These are just some of the questions we asked visitors to our stand ‘Volcanoes – when, why, how – the inside story…’ as we explained how magmatic processes produce a wide variety of rock types and volcanic activity. 

White jelly bean ‘water’ built up in a ‘magma reservoir’ as visitors removed green-Fe and brown-Mg beans to make tasty ‘olivine’ crystals and fractionate the mafic melt toward a more felsic composition. 

After seeing this both adults and children soon caught on that the way to turn a passive oil-water rhyolite magma chamber into an explosive erupting pumice volcano was to *add more gas*. Bubbles formed – just like taking the top off a bottle of pop. 

Could the groups agree whether to be cautious or bold when evacuating the lego geologist and area surrounding the party popper volcano? Not always… As the pressure gradually increased tension and pressure built up but it was the shock loading of the system by weight-drop-induced earthquakes that made it blow! 

As well as participating in the experiments visitors stayed to play a game of Volcano Top Trumps and explore geological concepts using the book The Street Beneath My Feet.  Two long days, tens of experiments, hundreds of visitors, in summary –

Outreach is Wonderful!


Coming soon ‘Primary Science KS2 Year 3 Rocks and Soils – A teaching guide to The Street Beneath My Feet’