Monday, May 11, 2009

Mt. Tater

Who among us hasn't made a mashed potato and gravy volcano on our dinner plate? I did it a lot as a child. My younger daughter recently had the opportunity to make a volcano for a science project and she chose the quintessential mashed potato volcano for hers.

Originally she wanted a gravy eruption - because, hey, who wouldn't? She had this idea the the mountain could erupt and then everyone could dig in. Theoretically this would be possible, but in practice, not so much. We thought about numerous ways to make her volcano erupt but eventually we settled on the basic vinegar and baking soda combo to get the job done. To make our lava red we used condensed tomato soup that was thinned out with some vinegar. We experimented with quantities of baking soda and soup mixture until we got the eruption we were looking for.

Then we built this:

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Mt. Tater! Yes, its actually made of mashed potatoes. If I had thought of it at the time I would have taken pictures of my daughter up to her elbows in potato flakes and water. Basically, she mixed a couple of large boxes of mashed potato flakes (bargain brand) with water and about 3 eggs. The eggs were to help the mixture hold together. We built Tater Mountain around a water bottle and some wadded paper towels (to lighten the load)and when it was done we 'painted' it with some caramel coloring (the kind you buy to darken gravy). A dusting of pepper around the top was reminiscent of volcanic ash. We did all this the night before and wrapped it in plastic to keep it from drying out.

Each student had to talk about their volcano (what type of volcano and the type of eruption) as well telling about their choice of building materials. One of the nice things about Mt. Tater is that it's easily biodegradable (except the water bottle inside). The opening is plugged with some paper towel and the figure made of paper on top is her science teacher with a word bubble. My daughter and her teacher had an ongoing argument over a test question and my daughter decided to rib her teacher about it by placing him at the top during the eruption. Thankfully he has a good sense of humor! I wasn't able to leave work to attend the actual eruption but I hear it came off as planned and Mt. Tater was the talk of the school. Yes, my daughter was quite pleased with herself!


LUCKY said...

Was the test question over lung issues on ash, havin a burbing mountain our locals can contest that!But good ta see Mt. Tator funny!

BSH ADMIN said...

Um, Mt. Tator looks delicious. Is that gross?