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Volcano Lapbook and Unit Study

Volcanoes were top on the list of things to study when the girls found out that Mt. Fuji was actually a volcano. We decided to work together on a lapbook from Homeschool Share. Lapbook components that we studied and used were: parts of a volcano, volcanologist, who’s going to blow, trivia game, inside a volcano, exploding volcano (scholastic pull-tab), volcano phases, vocabulary words, ring of fire, types of rocks, and the earth’s plates.

Our “art” project was to build our own volcano. The kids were far too excited to see how it would explode in our backyard.

On Monday we made some salt dough and formed a volcano using a tea bottle and a cardboard box. I based the model we made from this one that I found through a google search.

The dough took a few days to dry, so on Wednesday we were able to paint it together. I outlined a few areas for the girls and they worked together to paint it to make it look more like a scene/cutaway of a volcano. When they were done with the base painting, they let Mommy drip red paint around the ledge of the volcano to make it look like lava was dripping down the sides of the mountain.

Here is our completed project in action. Be warned: Screaming toddler and swinging lens cap may disrupt your viewing pleasure.

Volcano links for kids:

Studying Japan ::Week 2::

This was our second week learning about Japan and the girls had a lot of fun with many “hands-on” activities: origami, watercolors, calligraphy, puppet theatres, and Japanese screens. Much reading and even a great video or two thrown in. Since Japan has over 70 volcanoes, we are going to be doing a unit on volcanoes next week – as requested by the girls! 

  • Review what we learned last week
  • We used Kids Web Japan to look at the history of kimonos different types of kimonos and had fun doing a virtual game dressing girls and seeing where they would wear the kimono and outfit that we picked for them.
  • Japanese screens ~ Each of the girls designed their own Japanese screen trying to follow each of the four seasons.
  • We first read The Paper Crane (Bang) and then picked out a few pieces of origami to make: a mask and a boat…fairly simple but fun!

Literature we focused on:

Studying Japan ::Week 1::

This week we started our study of Japan. Of all the countries we’ve studied so far, Japan has had some amazing websites available to use in our studies. We’re planning on making this a three week study and wrapping it all up with a unit on volcanoes. Here’s how our first week was outlined:


  • Review geography song
  • Locate & map Japan with watercolors {link below}
  • Use atlas to learn more about Japan
  • Hello Japan video


  • Read Children Just Like Me & use notebooking page
  • Color Japan’s flag {printable below}
  • Facts about Japan using National Geographic for Kids website


  • Kids Web Japan
  • Talk about the Mon {family crest}


  • Review Asia geography song
  • Woodcuts/paintings {link below}

Laurianna’s independent reading for the week was Dragon of the Red Dawn by Mary Pope Osborne and the kids also enjoyed listening to the audiobook when Laurianna had finished reading it on her own. We’ve also been reading stories from Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories and The Boy of the Three Year Nap.

Great Links

  • Kids Web Japan – great videos, virtual games, pictures – too much to list, but a GREAT resource!! This week we watched the “Hello Japan” video, learned about tea ceremonies (and had our own), looked at some of the typical Japanese food
  • Visit Japan – this link is specifically to a quick video about Japan
  • National Geographic Kids: Japan – country facts, postcard, video clip and information on Japan
  • Japanese Woodcuts to Color – Ellen McHenry’s Basement Workshop has a great project for using watercolors to recreate some famous Japanese woodcuts
  • Hokusai’s Great Wave – picture and information on woodcut painting

    Next week we’ll be continuing our study of Japan by studying Japanese screens, origami, Japanese counting, puppet theatre and some other fun things too.