Between a medical appointment for my three year old and my husband’s work commitments, today was always going to be an at home day.
What we didn’t plan for was our neighbours having hired a bouncy castle for their son’s birthday and inadvertantly rendering our back garden a no-go area for certain minis whose faces were green with envy rather than their fingers green with horticultural zest.
But the best laid plans often go awry anyway, don’t they? We were intending to follow along with a live Theatre of Science experiment about gravity – a topic with lovely Lincolnshire roots – but had remembered the time wrong and it clashed with a work meeting. Fortunately Lara Stafford uploads all her videos to her YouTube channel afterwards and, as they are all designed using common household items, the afternoon quickly became all about volcanoes instead.
We’ve had the supplies in for the classic volcano experiment – vinegar, baking soda and red food colouring – since the beginning of lockdown but have just been missing a bottle to activate the ingredients in. Lara’s experiment, however, uses A4 paper, a candle, three mugs, a cup of flour (which we’d just finally managed to get in again in the last week!), water and a teaspoon and her presentation is titled Which is the BEST volcano model?!
As well as modelling a volcano, the minis also got to hear facts about what the most deadly part of the eruption is and learn about volcanologist Marta Calvache.
I was particularly fascinated that it was only last year that scientists, through computer modelling, have been able to determine why the deadly pyroclastic flow – the fast-moving current of hot gas and volcanic matter – is able to move in the way it does (it creates its own cushion of air to travel on apparently). I like knowing that our world may still have many mysteries for our children to explore although, given how long people have been studying volcanoes for, it doesn’t bode well for a quick answer to our current virus problem unfortunately.