"Volcano Explorer," available on the Discovery Kids website as of 2015, is a fun interactive game that allows kids to build their own volcanoes and then watch them erupt on the screen. A more hands-on activity allows children to build their own model volcanoes using clay, vinegar, dish detergent and food coloring.
To build their own digital volcanoes using "Volcano Explorer," students select magma viscosity and gas content settings ranging from high to low. The program contains links students can click on to read about the roles of magma viscosity and gas content inside real-life volcanoes. After a student makes his selections, "Volcano Explorer" reveals which type of volcano his is likely to be based on the viscosity and gas content levels he chose. The student then witnesses his volcano erupting inside the game.
The first step to building a volcano model is to mold clay into the shape of a volcano, complete with a hole in the middle from which the lava can erupt. The student then inserts a small container about the size of a film container into the top of the volcano and fills the container with two spoonfuls of baking soda, one spoonful of dish detergent, and a few drops of yellow and red food coloring. Upon adding 1 ounce of vinegar to the mixture, the volcano erupts. The teacher should explain to the students that the explosion occurs due to a chemical reaction, but real-life volcanoes erupt due to heat and pressure buildup that accumulates over thousands of years.