Monday, November 28, 2016

Review & Projects: Science Comics: Volcanoes

One day as I ambled through the book store (on my way to Ursula Vernon's book signing!) a snazzy cover and the words SCIENCE jumped out at me off the shelf. Like, practically fell on my head! I thought to myself, my kids like science! And comic books!

Flipping through the book, Science Comics: Coral Reefs: Cities Under the Ocean, I was impressed. I might have bought the book right then except that, sadly, my oldest has expressed a disinterest in ocean life (maybe they switched him at birth?). But, seeing that this was to be a series of awesome comic books, I snapped a photo of the cover and sent it to myself, and when I got home later, actually remembered to look it up and get a copy of the next book to review.

Here's the review of the latest, Science Comics: Volcanoes: Fire and Life on Learning Tangent Homeschool Magazine!

My favorite part about the book is that it was actually too advanced for my 7yo--I mean, he read it and liked it, but I'll be encouraging him to read these (again) when he's older. This surprised me because we've done plenty of hands-on experiments and read other books about volcanoes, because he likes them so much. I didn't expect to learn more! These books are solidly middle-grade because they provide a lot of technical detail and terminology. These give you a better sense that there is so much more to learn out there. And of course they are more entertaining than a text book. So now, the next time my kids ask to do a volcano experiment (again, hahaha!) I have more information to draw from and lovely illustrations to show them from the book.

So buy the book for yourself if your children aren't old enough yet (I'm serious!), and then use this handy-dandy vocab list to tie-in science experiments and the like with what the book teaches. Let me emphasize that the comic book depicts/explains these in a way that my google searches and other research for my kids up to that point simply did not:

Layers of the Earth:
  • Crust
  • Mantle
  • Inner core
  • Outer core

Plate Movement:
  • Oceanic and continental plates
  • Convergent boundary
  • Subduct
  • Divergent boundary
  • Geotherm

Lava & Eruptions:
  • Magma
  • Magma chamber
  • Lava
  • Mafic, felsic
  • Viscous
  • Lava haze
  • Pillow lava
  • Convection currents
  • Pyroclastic flow
  • Outgassing

Types of Volcanos:
  • Shield volcano
  • Composite volcano
  • Stratovolcano
  • Parasitic volcano
  • Hotspot

Examples of Hands-on Learning:


Layers of the Earth with homemade play dough
Model different types of volcanoes with your play dough.

Make a volcano "explode" and talk about chemical reactions.

Observe how temperature affects the volume of a gas with this balloon experiment.

Use colored marshmallows and toothpicks to model molecules in the book.

Blow out a candle using CO2.

Test the viscosity of different liquids by pouring honey, water, etc.

Model plate tectonics with graham crackers and frosting, or by cutting a show box in half, fitting one half over the other, filling with sand, and shoving the two halves together.

Model an earthquake and the damage to structures using jello.

Get your hands on pumice and other rocks to compare: test that they float, their mass displacement in a jar of water, their weight etc.

Have fun!



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