Lunchtime Lava – Experiments to try at home

“Lunchtime Lava? Sounds like a recipe for disaster if you ask me!”

Lava in your sandwich is certainly not the best idea…..but Team Volcano have cooked up a series of experiments to help you have fun at home this half-term. Weve taken a pinch of science, a spoonful of imagination and a generous helping of enthusiasm to create a feast of volcanic delights for the Norwich Science Festival this year.

Normally Team Volcano would be busy packing up our rocks, model volcanoes, explosive activities and smiling faces to bring to the Forum to say hello at  Norwich Science Festival. This year things are a little bit different, so we’ve created a series of videos and worksheets. These are packed full of ludicrous lava facts and great ideas to help you become volcanologists in your own homes.

Here’s a sneak peak at what we plan to serve up to you this week:

Ever wondered how we found out what lava actually is? Jenni enlists the help of a top UEA chemist to recreate an experiment from 1812 that Sir Humphry Davy used to demonstrate his ideas about how volcanoes worked. This explosive experiment is a spectacular example of how science is a little bit about getting things right, but A LOT about getting things wrong! We also take a look at how it is that magma rises to the surface and erupts. This includes a fun and slightly messy activity you can try at home.

Sherlock Holmes isn’t the only detective on the block… Bridie uses her little grey cells and shows you how to use your very own detective skills to solve mysteries about volcanic eruptions. Just like a crime scene, the rocks left behind after volcanic eruptions are collected as evidence. Volcanologists use some very simple techniques to re-construct past events and ultimately find out whodunnit? (spoiler alert…it was the volcano!)

Ready, steady, FLOW! James and Jade explore how different types of lava flow. Much like Winnie the Pooh, our researchers can’t resist a bit of honey: these lickable lavas wont stick around for long, so keep your eyes peeled and see if you can guess the winner. Another great activity to try at home, just make sure you clean up after!

Still got the munchies? Try our lava crunchies! Jess and the team take honeycomb to a new level to investigate how gasses in magma affect the bubbles in pumice rocks. This experiment is HOT HOT HOT so only try it at home with adult supervision. In part two of her experiment Jess investigates how cooling lava at different rates creates shiny surfaces and sparkling crystals.

If you’ve ever drunk a fizzy drink too fast you’ll love our final course…

What happens when a volcano needs to BURP? Lava isnt the only thing that comes out of a volcano: we’ve prepared a selection of experiments that investigate what happens when there is a LOT of gas in the magma that REALLY needs to get out. Team Volcano get imaginitive to get volcanoes erupting all over UEA campus, watch closely and you might even be able to make an eruption in your own garden…if you dare!

We hope you enjoy learning about all things lava in our lunchtime lab, watch the videos and chat to the team on Wednesday 28th October using the links available here.

Don’t forget, you can view the videos at any time and we will be uploading materials to our Resources page so the fun can continue throughout half term and beyond.

So, pull up a chair and tuck in!

Happy half term,

From everyone and UEA Volcano Outreach