Monday, March 19, 2012

Homeschool Preschool: Volcanoes

One area my husband and I differ in opinion is preschool. I loved preschool when I was little and I had always thought I would send my own kids to preschool. My husband however, thinks that they just don't learn much in preschool, that the classes are overcrowded and they do more crafts than learning. We decided to compromise. I would spend a little bit of money on things I felt like she needed for preschool and then I would do the preschool at home.
Preschooling at home has been fantastic. We have really been able to spend time on subjects that interest both of us and her learning is really taking off. I plan out each lesson to make them short and informative. School is my little girl's favorite part of the day. I get asked about our preschool a lot, so I thought I would start sharing my lessons in hopes they help another mom too.

Lesson Volcano:
One of my favorite lessons so far has been our lesson about volcanoes. For this lesson you will need: baking soda, vinegar, a cup will a smaller opening, tinfoil and access to the Internet. First of all we watched a couple of YouTube videos about volcano eruptions. You can find the two videos we watched and what I liked about each one at the bottom of this post.

For the volcano demonstration you are going to want a cup with a smaller opening. This forces your mini volcano to have a bigger eruption.
 Wrap you cup in tin foil, creating a mini mountain. I do this for two reasons. One we can talk about how some mountains are volcanoes and some are not and two, it is easier to clean up.
 If you are feeling festive, dye your vinegar red. I usually do three tablespoons of baking soda to a couple of tablespoons of dyed red vinegar.
 Smock your child, to prevent stains.
 Then allow your child to create the volcano themselves. This can be messier, but I always feel it is really important for them to get the experience, rather than just watch it.
Then repeat if you want. We made two or three volcanoes in the space of 15 or so minutes. You could do this activity with multiple children and let each child have a turn pouring in the vinegar. When you are done, ball up the vinegar and throw the mess away.
These are the two videos I found most helpful in teaching volcanoes. I love the first video because it is relatively short, only about a minute, and it has no words. Without words, I could talk to her about the volcanoes and the different things that were happening.
The second video is also very good, it does have some talking in it, some of which made my little girl's eyes go wide, but nothing I think that was frightening. If your child is very sensitive you might want to preview the second show first.

Besides the videos, I also found this image helpful in explaining volcanoes. It is not complicated, with only a few labels, but it helps make volcanoes make sense.
This lesson is still a clear favorite in our house. She tells everybody she meets that she knows what a volcano is. Coming up soon: Tornadoes and Counting and Sorting.
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