Toilet Paper Volcanoes

Yes, you read right....Toilet Paper Volcanoes!  I wanted to share a fun, hands-on lab activity that teachers can do in the regular classroom (or parents at home with their kids).

My fourth graders have been learning about changes to the Earth's surface (fast and slow processes).  In the unit, volcanoes are briefly mentioned.  Well, I thought it would be fun to spruce it up a bit and let students build their own volcanoes and erupt them.  After all, what kid doesn't like to see a mini-eruption?

This activity was great because it allowed me to also introduce three types of volcanoes that we teach about in sixth grade science lab; shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes, and cinder cone volcanoes.  After showing students photos of these types of volcanoes (and the vocabulary posters are also included in this freebie!), I challenged groups to create one of the three types of volcanoes using only a roll of toilet paper and some should of heard the excitement and giggles in the room :-)

I also wanted students to practice basic science processing skills like observation/measurement, so I had them complete the following lab sheet (also included in the freebie!).  

After students were finished building their volcanoes, I,  "Mrs. Magma" walked around the room and placed a small cup of baking soda in the "crater" or top of the T.P. roll (each cup had 2-3 teaspoons of baking soda).  Then, I grabbed my "magma mixture" of red food coloring and vinegar and went table to table erupting the volcanoes.  Students got to vote on the best eruption of the class, and then they took measurements of their individual table's lava flow.  

Here are what some of the volcanoes looked like, as well as one that had been erupted.  

We had so much fun doing this, and it was a great way to provide some hands-on fun to volcanoes!  I hope you'll give this activity a try!

CLICK HERE for my Volcano Freebie Set!


  1. How fun! I found your adorable blog through the honey bunch site! It's very cute!
    Second Grade is Out of This World!

  2. Hi, Hilary! Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your visit and you taking the time to leave a comment. Have a great day!


  3. This is so much fun! I know your kiddos had a blast! Thank you for sharing.

    You have such a cute blog design. I am happy to be your newest follower. I would love for you to hop over and visit when you get the chance.

    Heather's Heart

  4. Welcome, Heather! Thanks for your sweet comment and becoming my newest follower. I am looking forward to hopping over to your blog! :-)

  5. I love this idea...but here's my question. Did they use the whole roll of toilet paper? Or did you give them part of a roll?

    1. Hello! I give each table an entire roll. This way they can unwrap the whole roll first, then wrap it back up to make their own volcano. :-)


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