Volcano Art and Writing Project

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SWBAT write down facts that they have learned about volcanoes.

Big Idea

We have learned so much about volcanoes. Let's take that knowledge make a product that is an educational trifecta--blending science, art and writing!

Teacher Notes

Activity Description

This lesson combines writing and artistic expression.  The students will write about what they have learned about volcanoes, and then create a super cool-looking art project to go with it. Then they will share their final projects with the class. 

For this lesson, you might want to consider splitting it into 2 days.  One for the writing portion and making the black volcano base, and another for finishing the lava painting.  In that way the base can dry before you do the second part.

NGSS/Common Core Connections

As part of the NGSS, the children need to learn about different landforms and distinguish if the events happened slowly or quickly.  In order to be able to do that task, they must understand the basics of how a volcano is formed.  

In this lesson, they will write what they have learned about volcanoes, which combines writing into science.  They will be using information they have obtained about volcanoes and synthesizing that information to communicate it to others.  Also, the class will be working on listening standards when they share their projects with each other. 


  • (see photo of supplies)
  • straws--1 per student
  • white construction paper--1 per student
  • red, yellow, orange, and black tempera paint
  • What I know about Volcanoes writing paper--1 per student
  • paper to cover desk area so paint doesn't get on it
  • painting smocks (optional)
  • volcano for a demonstration

Note:  The volcano that I used was purchased at Learning Resources.  But you can just as easily make the typical one using baking soda, vinegar and a water bottle.  There are many how-to videos on youtube if you are interested.

In the create section there is a short embedded video explaining how to make the volcano art project.




5 minutes

To engage the children, we go outside and watch a volcano demonstration.  My children are super pumped! I am hoping to get them excited to write all that they know about volcanoes.  I think this did the trick!

I make sure to tell the children that this volcano represents how the lava flows out of the volcano, but it is not a representation of how the lava actually forms.  I do not want to create any misconceptions about volcanoes themselves.


25 minutes

We come back inside and settle down.  Then my kiddos now have a turn at writing what they have learned about volcanoes.

We have learned so much about volcanoes!  You have really become experts.  I would love if you could write down everything that you know about volcanoes so other people can learn from you.  You can use this writing paper to write down all of your facts.  You should have a topic sentence to start your work.  What are some suggestions for a good topic sentence?

We have been working on writing topic sentences that are general and all-inclusive.  The children still are working on this skill, so I model our idea that the class has come up with for a topic sentence on the board.  (I know a lot about volcanoes.) They can either copy the sentence that we came up with as a class, or they are always welcome to write their own, if they are able.

You must write your ideas in complete sentences.  Each should start with a capital and have proper punctuation.  Keep in mind that you are writing so others can learn from you, so please use your best handwriting.

I love when the students are able to combine what we have learned in science to write informational paragraphs.  It makes the learning authentic and they write with more enthusiasm. It ties all of their learning together--science and writing.  What could be better?

Click for student sample 1, sample 2 and sample 3.

Note:  As part of practicing our keyboarding skills, the students typed their paragraphs in the computer lab.  This made their projects a bit more "professional" looking.  I was very impressed with their ideas and what they learned.  See student sample A, sample B and sample C.  Next year, I will make a small adjustment to the writing (see reflection).


10 minutes

Here is a video to explain how to make the artistic scientific project:

Creating volcano paintings are super easy and fun. The first thing that the children do is to paint a black volcano cone shape on the paper.  We let it dry for at least a few minutes.  The volcano cone does not take up more than half of the paper.  

Then I squeeze a splash of yellow, red and orange paint at the top of each cone.  I have the children blow gently into a straw onto the puddles of paint, making sure to not suck the air (and paint) back up.  The paint should splash a bit and move in the direction that you are blowing, which is away from the black cone.  This will create an effect of ash and lava spurting out of the volcano.

My finished volcanoes took a day to dry.  When they are dry, they are crinkly.  So I lay them under some heavy books for a night.  The next day I have the children glue them onto a large piece of black paper.  Then they attach their writing to the bottom portion by gluing it down.  Click here for a finished sample.


Wrap-Up/ Evaluation

5 minutes

I have the students share their finished work.  It's part science, part writing and part art!  It's a trifecta of educational goodness!  Then the cherry on top is having them practice good listening and speaking skills while sharing.  Life is good!

Here's what I look for in their writing:

  • Do their ideas make sense?
  • Do they have proper punctuation?
  • Do they use proper capitalization?
  • Is their spelling grade appropriate?