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Experiments

Lava-licious
Use chocolate and marshmallows to demonstrate the properties of lava! You can conduct this experiment while students observe, or allow students to participate.

Materials

  • block chocolate broken into chunks (1 chunk per student)
  • marshmallows (3-4 per student)
  • sauce pan
  • hot plate
  • spoon
  • wax paper

Directions

  1. Have students observe the properties of the chocolate and the marshmallows. What is the texture? Hardness? Is it solid, liquid, or gas?
  2. Place the pieces of chocolate into a saucepan; place the saucepan on a hot plate; turn on the hotplate.
  3.  Discuss what you notice happening to the chocolate.
  4. Add the marshmallows to the chocolate.
  5. After a few seconds, use a spoon to carefully scoop out “blobs” of the mixture and drop them onto wax paper.
  6. Watch the mixture cool and observe the changes to the mixture as it cools.
  7. Explain that this process is similar to what happens when a volcano becomes active: the solid earth is exposed to extreme heat and changes from solids into liquids. As it cools the liquid (molten lava) transforms into solid rock.

A great wrap up for this experiment — students can eat their lavachocolate-marshmallow rocks!

Source:
Lisa Siegman. Instructor. New York: Nov/Dec 1998. Vol. 108, Iss. 4; pg. 20, 1 pgs