McPhee ELL students create snow volcanoes

Carol Floth found a silver lining in the white blanket that covered Lincoln last week. 

Floth is an English Language Learner teacher at McPhee Elementary School and was in the middle of a unit on weather and clothing when the historical blizzard dumped 14.5 inches of snow on the city.

“We’ve learned about the clothing you need to wear in different kinds of weather,” she said. “We learned about flooding and blizzards and thunderstorms - and then conveniently we had this massive snowstorm.”

When students returned to school on Thursday, most of them said they weren’t able to spend time outside during their days at home. For many of them it was the first blizzard they had experienced. So Floth thought about what they could do outside that would tie to curriculum.

The answer: snow volcanoes. It was a twist on the old-fashioned science fair experiment involving dish soap, baking soda, food coloring and - for the final step - vinegar. Floth and her students, ranging in age from first grade to fifth grade, bundled up, grabbed their volcano ingredients and headed outside during the final half hour of school.

“They said, ‘Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, snow volcanoes!” Floth said.

One by one, students poured the first ingredients into small cups that were dug into the snow, then added the vinegar and...rainbow-colored lava, followed by squeals of delight.

“It was great just to hear them laugh and see them smile and just have a good time together - really just enjoy being kids after a snowstorm,” Floth said.

And as the final minutes of school ticked away, there was one more ingredient to add.

Snow angels!

Published: February 3, 2021, Updated: February 11, 2021