Page content Page content Section navigation Topic navigation Accessibility keys Sitemap Search Contact us portal
Go to Waikato Regional Council homepage
search icon mail icon contact us icon

  Services » Regional Services » Environmental education » Resources for teachers » Classroom activities » Geothermal activities

Geothermal activities

Use our geothermal activities to learn more about geothermal resources in the Waikato region:

A geothermal feature in the Waikato region

Make a volcano

Equipment needed:

  • baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • vinegar
  • hot water
  • red food colouring (optional)

Groups of students or class demonstration.


  1. Make sure the sand is wet enough to hold its shape well when built up. Build a cone shaped volcano, with a crater at the top which will hold about 1 cup.
  2. Take about half a cup of the sand and mix it with the same amount of baking soda. Add red food colouring if you wish.
  3. Place some of the sand and soda mix into the crater.
  4. Mix about half a cup of hot water with the same amount of vinegar.
  5. Carefully pour the liquid into the crater, a little at a time. Observe the 'pyroclastic' flows of 'lava' down the sides of the volcano.
Taken from Earth Shattering Experiences - Earth Science Activities for New Zealand Schools. Sandra Copeland/Daphne Lee (1996), Geological Society of New Zealand

Other natural hazards activities


  • Design a temporary hazard road sign or signs to warn of the dangers of volcanic ash fall.
  • Design protective gear for someone who needs to travel close to the mountain summit (Mt. Ruapehu).
  • Design protective headgear for yourself out of the things you would find around your home, to shield you against the effects of heavy ash fall.
  • Use media reports to research the Alert Level for an eruption.

What is the usual status?

What was the highest Alert Level during the Ruapehu 95/96 eruption?

Why is it useful to have a measure like this?

Research other measures, such as wind and earthquake strength and fire danger.
Design a road sign that can be changed to show the current Alert Level of an eruption.

Taken from Tearaway Topics Magazine, Issue 12, November 1995 - Ruapehu ’95.
About this site     Contact us     Feedback and complaints New Zealand Government