Magnetic Volcanoes


Create an erupting volcano! Magnets and a cookie sheet add to the reality of this 3-D project.


1. On world maps, locate active volcanoes, those that erupted recently, and dormant volcanoes. Find which ones are mountains, islands, or other land forms. If possible, find before and after photos.

2. Research information about the earth and how volcanoes erupt. You will find that the earth is made of three layers: crust, mantle, and core. The core is made of the outer core and an extremely hot inner core. On the hard, outer crust are large sections called plates, which move slowly. The mantle, a hot layer of rock beneath the crust, supports the plates. Plate movement causes friction as the plates collide. In time, this friction causes one of the plates to melt. This hot, partly melted rock is called magma.

3. When enough magma builds up, it rises to the surface. If the magma escapes through a hole or crack in the earth's surface, then a volcanic eruption occurs. Magma, called lava when it flows from a volcano, and gases erupt from the volcano. As it cools, the lava hardens.

4. On white paper with Crayola® Colored Pencils, draw and label a cross section of the earth showing its three layers.

5. Draw a volcanic mountain or island on white poster board. Use Crayola Washable Markers to color the mountain.

6. Draw the lava, steam, and gas cloud on another piece of white posterboard. Use markers to color the eruption. With Crayola Scissors, cut out all parts of your volcano. Cut a slit in the top of the mountain so that the lava and gas cloud can fit into it.

7. Tape a small, flat magnet to the back of each volcano part. Insert the gas cloud into the volcano and attach both parts to a metal cookie sheet or tray. Place a larger magnet (you may need more than one) on the back side of the cookie sheet behind the cloud. Move this magnet to create the effect of a volcanic eruption.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Magnets— WARNING: Only use common magnets that have a weak attractive force, for example, magnetic tape or flexible refrigerator magnets. Never use permanent, high-attractive-force magnets, for example, rare earth magnets or magnets used in motors. If the magnet is small, follow the small parts guidance. WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD—Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.


  • Use Crayola Gel Markers, Metallic FX Crayons, or Metallic Colored Pencils and black construction paper to draw an erupting volcano.
  • Pretend you are witnessing the eruption of a volcano. Use a tape recorder to give an eyewitness account of your experience.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Colored Pencils
  • Markers
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
household supplies
  • white paper
  • posterboard
  • cookie sheet
  • magnet
  • clear adhesive tape



  • Grades 4 to 6


  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Multiple Sessions


  • Children research information about volcanic eruptions and identify parts of the earth involved with volcanoes.

  • Students locate active, recently active, and dormant volcanoes on world maps.

  • Children produce a simulated volcanic eruption with the use of magnets.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards