I’ve mentioned time and time again that the hands-on experiments we use in our homeschool classroom are what helps connect information and really solidify a concept. The more we homeschool, the more I realize I’m learning right along with Jeffrey.

When learning about magma, we talked about how new landmasses are formed by volcanic activity and that magma not only forms earth, but also moves the earth that is there, changing and re-shaping it as it flows through.

While the ideal way of learning this concept would be to visit someplace like Hawaii or Iceland, where volcanoes reign supreme, we figured we could get the picture at home with some easy household objects: some dirt, some toothpaste, and an empty yogurt cup.

Any size or shape will work fine for the experiment. We went with what we had on hand… Yoplait.

Using scissors, cut a hole in the base of the cup, about enough to fit the toothpaste tube’s tip in, without having it any larger than that.

Then, stick the tip of the tube through the hole, so you can see the tip going into the cup.

Just like this!

Fill the cup with dirt. There, now you have your earth’s crust.

Now start squeezing. Hypothesize… what do you think will happen?

Remember, the toothpaste represents the magma, the dirt represents the earth’s crust, and the cup is just a good container to help hold it in.

As you squeeze, the magma will raise and move the earth, which is one way mountains and islands are formed and shaped. Then, some magma will actually begin seeping through as the crust cracks and moves.

I love when a relatively simple, easy-to-assemble experiment can really show exactly how something works. To me, it is invaluable to not only read about it, but to physically, tangibly see how it works. Now, go grab your toothpaste and try it out!


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