Monday, January 31, 2011

Earth Science: Layers of the Earth Hands-on Activity

Just adding this in on Tuesday: I found out today that I have Pneumonia which is why I've been feeling ever so lousy.

I first saw this activity last year at The Learning Ark. It fit in perfectly with our Earth Science unit. There is also a similar activity using a hard-boiled egg in the book we are using for this unit, How the Earth Works by Michelle O'Brien-Palmer.  One of the other books we are using, Planet Earth/Inside Out by Gail Gibbons, had some really good description and discussion of the layers of the earth. We used those books along with cards from Free to talk about the inner core, out core, mantle and crust.

As we read about each layer, we colored playdough and added a new layer.  We started with a small sphere. We kept adding layers until the ball was covered by the crust:
Then LD looked at the globe and tried to add the continents and oceans.  Would you believe, poor LD's place of birth, Australia, didn't really fit onto his globe??!  He stuck on a tiny, tiny piece of green playdough but it wasn't much to scale!
Then LD wondered what we'd do with it.  His eyes got wide when I pulled out a butcher knife!
But he got right into slicing the world apart!
We were pretty excited by the results. The layers showed up really clearly!
And we could even talk about how different areas were thicker and thinner.

Just to mention--I made a large pot of playdough for the girls in the morning and we added the colors later in the day.  If you don't add the colors when you're first making playdough BE SURE to wear gloves!!
EARLIER IN THE DAY: The girls were happy with a very light pink -- and this worked well for our layers of the earth colors later.  Even the inner core looks pretty yellow (the color we decided upon).

We'll be sharing a few more of our Earth Science Activities in the next couple of days.


Every few years, we circle around to cover basic material again. You may be interested in the Earth Science Unit we did more recently -- and be sure to check out our Earth Science Packet.  It includes worksheets about the solar system, the layers of the Earth, plate tectonics, the ring of fire, earthquake activity and volcanoes. I also included more than a dozen hands-on activities we did with this unit including activities about plate tectonics, using a compass, earthquakes, volcanoes, instructions on how to make a shake table and more!
Find out more by visiting this post over at our new location: Earth Science Packet

Or you can purchase it by clicking on the link below: 

When you click on the Buy Now button below, it will take you to Paypal. Upon receipt of payment you will immediately get a link to download this pdf in your browser. You will also receive an email from SendOwl Downloads which will give you a link to download.  Remember, you do not have to have a Paypal account to make a payment. Just click on the line that says, "Pay with a debit or credit card or PayPal credit." That gives you the option of paying with a credit card even if you don't have an actual Paypal account.
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Hope you visit our new location at (the links above take you there!) or come visit us at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page. :) ~Liesl


  1. WOW LOVE LOVE LOVE the earth science project!! he done wonderful!!!!!!!!! loved it!! will have to try that one myself!! thanks for sharing!

  2. it is a brilliant idea for teaching the layers. Thanks for sharing

  3. This project really makes the layers come alive. Great idea.

    Kathi Sewing, Knitting, Candle Making, Homeschooling Mama