Friday, April 13, 2012

Journey to the Center of the Earth.... Model

So this week we started Earth Science... one of my faves!!!! My TEK stated that the students were to build a model of the layers of the earth, but when they know nothing about the earth it makes the concept of building kind of tough.   So we started from square one: KWL chart, and they came up with some great questions under the W.  One of my students even asked "My dog digs in the ground to make a hole to cool off in, but how can the layers heat up as we go further into the earth?"  I love it!!  After making the KWL chart together, my students read in their book and completed a little worksheet of the information they learned.  Then they added into the L section of the KWL on their own.  This was all on Monday.
Tuesday we created this foldable.
 I just made a paper copy of the circles in a word document and they colored and labeled each circle.  I told them that we didn't want to just slap the foldable together, we want them all centered.  So after some prodding, they came up with folding each circle into 1/4 to find the center point and then stack them.  We glued only 1/2 of each circle down so we could flip it and write facts about each layer. 
Then I informed them of making a model this week.  They were so excited, and so was I!!!  I told them for homework they had to bring a batch of play dough (not store bought) to school by Thursday, and I supplied them with this recipe. We would color it Thursday, and make the models on Friday.  FYI: We had lots of left overs from this recipe!
Wednesday the students researched through reading different  books that I placed at their table, and wrote just facts under each flap of each layer of their foldable.  The last 20 minutes or so we talked about making our model to scale.  My students are 6th graders, and in math we do A LOT of proportional studies.  So we naturally made our model to scale.  Using some measurements given to us in our textbook, and this worksheet

we determined that our layers should be the following measurements:
  • Crust : 1 mm
  • Lithosphere (mantle part only): 1mm
  • Mantle: 4 cm
  • Outer Core: 3 cm
  • Inner Core: 3 cm diameter.  
This was such a great lesson at this time of year since it was a wonderful review of making proportions and tying in circles.  I loved it when they would say... This is science, not math!  And we would discuss how they overlap.

The students were very careful with their measurements.  Here are a few pictures of the project in motion....

Warning: Those of you who are afraid of chaos and mess ( like me) please take a deep breath before viewing.
Each table placed their colored play dough in baggies and in a bucket which made it easy to pass out today.
Making that Outer core 3 cm.  SCALE!!!
Careful tick marks at 4 cm makes it easy to keep the right measurements.
Love how they used their sheets, without me saying anything!
It's hard to make it 1 mm thin!!!

Lots of colors and lots of fun!
Keeping it accurate!!!
Thinning out the Lithosphere.
A final project with flag labels and all.

Another nicely finished model

 Now I have to go on warrior guard mode and make sure no one destroys these beautiful works of earth!

Happy Teaching!


  1. This is wicked cool!! I am bookmarking this now (still terrible at pinning, I'm embarrassed to admit). Thank you!

  2. I'm glad you like it Kristen!!! Once you get pinning down.... you will be glued to pinterst!! So addicting!

  3. I love the foldable! What a great note taker for the students to reference. When we made out models we did them as wedges, which was nice because they're smaller and no one stressed about making a " perfect" circle. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Do you have a link to the worksheet you used? I LOVE this and want to use it next week.

    1. I am so sorry but it was one from the textbook workbook that my school had.

  5. I would enjoy this worksheet...I think that my students would get a lot out of it.
    Is there a link to the worksheet?