I'll give you one guess as to what we're making.
Our The Story of the World work brought us to the time of the destruction of Pompeii. It will be no surprise that this has renewed a dormant interest in volcanoes. The First Great Lesson is actually the only Great Lesson I have not given this year (I only gave them in order the first year). Since that time certain topics keep cropping up in SotW that relate to one Great Lesson or another really well and I give them at that time. This year the boys were fortunate enough to have Ken Ham give them what certainly counted as the second and third great lessons for us.
Up until this point I have always used a baking soda and vinegar volcano for the First Great Lesson (Not how it should be done, but how we did it for a while so that the First Great Lesson happened at all.) Now that Kal-El is more of an "upper elementary" Montessori kid I though I would amp up his interest in the First Great Lesson with an amped up exploding volcano (using ammonium dichromate).
The boys read Pompeii: Lost and Found, Pompeii...Buried Alive! (Step into Reading), and Bodies From the Ash: Life and Death in Ancient Pompeii.
This all lead to some questions regarding self-preservation such as "Where is the nearest volcano from our house." (World. USA) They also recounted our time in Yellowstone this summer and asked to see the map again that shows the spread of the ash if it were to erupt. Me Too was quite pleased to see that the southernmost tip of Florida would be spared because as he said, "That exactly where I had in mind to take you to live with me when you retire." I didn't have the heart to tell him that if we retired to the Everglades National Park if the ash from Yellowstone didn't get us the alligators would. I find it humorous that if Yellowstone did erupt that God would choose the Everglades to be one of the two places spared. Brownsville is looking better and better every day.
We watched two videos about Pompeii. I definitely recommend that you preview these before showing them to your children. This first one is a shorter, less-violent option (aside from some screaming) that accurately shows the timeline of geological events only and their devastation without showing actual deaths. I don't know why that video has so many dislikes. I didn't have a problem with it.
The second was put on by BBC. It's longer and not appropriate for some families. It is alluded that the body of a female slave was found in a cheap motel with the man who owned her. The way it was presented my boys wouldn't have had any idea what was meant by that, so I allowed it. Also, I have very sensitive kids but felt they were mentally prepared for this through the books we had read through the week, and it was fine. At one point early on, after the first pyroclastic surge, Me Too aptly stated, "Mom, are about to watch everyone die in 100 different ways." Yup. The reason we watched this video was because it DID include the human elements such as who chose to remain in Pompeii and why, how we know what we know, Pliny's role that day, and the devastation of poisonous gas and high temperatures (the other video might leave one with the impression that you might make it out if you were physically protected.). I thought that the filmmakers did a brilliant job of weaving shots of recovered Pompeii today and the plaster casts of the voids left by human remains in the ash with the dramatized story.
We have a couple more days of volcano-making to be followed by the First Great Lesson and further study of volcanoes. It seems like this will be a good time to cover the "Formation of Mountains" section of the Geography album that we have never done as well.