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St. Francis Kindergarten Students Take Part in an Explosive Inquiry

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St. Francis full-day kindergarten students (left to right) Aiden Galloway, Katie Polischuk, Rebecca Yetman and Rihana Kehoe were very excited to talk with Sudbury Catholic Superintendent Nicole Snow about their volcano project.

March 26, 2013 - Flowing lava, rocks, heat and explosions were the topic of many conversations during the St. Francis Catholic Elementary School full-day kindergarten’s recent study of volcanoes. Mostly curious about lava and how the volcano erupts, the students, with the help of their teacher Karen Healy, were able to find many resources to answer their own questions. According to the students, creating a volcano in the class was the most exciting part of this inquiry and scientifically testing different types of pretend lava to see which flowed or erupted the best was the highlight of our volcano study.
The students were curious about what their teacher was going to use to make the volcano explode. When they were told that we were not only going to try one eruption but three, the students went crazy and were super-excited!
Upon presenting the materials for the three reactions to the students, they were asked to make a Hypothesis (which the students now know is a good guess), about which materials would make the biggest eruption. The students were able to choose from vinegar and baking soda, Elephant toothpaste (Google it!), and Diet Coke and Mentos. A handful of students picked the first two, with the majority of the class choosing the Diet Coke and Mentos. They put our hypothesis to the test and after doing the experiment and recording observations, the students concluded that the Diet Coke and Mentos was the biggest eruption!
The teacher also took this opportunity for learning to talk about safety in the science lab and classroom and how important it is for all students to follow directions.
Nicole Snow, Superintendent for the school, visited the class during their volcano inquiry. “What a great teaching moment for these kindergarten students,” Snow said. “Taking part in a hands on learning opportunity like this really allows the students to get a deeper understanding of the subject they are studying. This is a really great example of an authentic positive learning experience that will stay with the students!”

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