It is really hard to understand what is deep down inside our planet, under our feet. Earth is not an enormous rock floating through space. It is composed of several layers. To help kids grasp this concept, we have got some amazing layers of the Earth projects for them.
What Are The Layers Of The Earth?
The Earth consists of 4 main layers. The kernel of planet Earth is the inner core. It is incredibly hot there because the temperature is almost as hot as the sun. The Earth’s core heats the layers above it. The next layers are the outer core, the mantle and the Earth’s crust. We are living on top of the Earth’s crust.
Just below the Earth’s crust you can find the Earth mantle. It is a lot cooler than the inner core, but still so hot that the rock there has melted. This molten rock is called magma and it flows around slowly.
These currents rub against the bottom of the Earth’s crust, tearing it apart. This creates different plates that drift away from each other or towards each other. Such a plate is called a tectonic plate. Through the cracks, magma rises to the surface which solidifies into lava at the Earth’s surface.
It seems as if the Earth’s crust is getting larger as a result, but that is not the case, because in other places Earth plates collide with each other, pushing heavier plates under lighter plates. These plates are called tectonic plates. This is accompanied by a lot of violence, causing earthquakes and explosive volcanic eruptions.
Just off the coast, where the heavy Earth plates move downward and disappear into the Earth’s mantle, a deep trough is formed. And on land, high mountains are formed. This way, our Earth’s crust is constantly building up and breaking down by seismic waves, and it does so with great violence, causing earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis.
Layers Of The Earth Activities
Next up, I’ve got a few science project ideas to learn more about the Earth’s interior.
1. Layers of the Earth Lego Project
It’s pretty hard to create a globe with Lego as you can see below:
So an easier way is to create a cross section of the different layers. You can do this by using different colored Lego bricks for the different layers of the earth. You can create it on a base plate like I did with my son:
Or you can create one that you can hold in your hand without a base plate.
2. Layers of the Earth Play Dough Project
Another fun and hands on activity is creating the different layers using play dough. I’ve chosen a flat cross section just like the Lego one above.
A more advanced way is to create a small sized globe with different play dough colors just like a 3D model. Once you have finished the layers and created a real looking globe, you add a blue layer for the ocean and add green playdough for the continents. The fun part is cutting the globe in half and seeing the Earth’s interior!
3. Layers of the Earth Paper Craft Project
The easiest way to create the layers of the earth is by using paper and different colored markers. First create a red ball and then add the yellow circle and the larger brown or black circle. After that add blue and green around the outer circle for the oceans and continents.
Once that is done, you can create a few small labels with the names of each circle: inner core, outer core, mantle, crust. I asked my 5 year old son to place the labels next to the drawing of the globe and create a line with the marker to each of the representing circles. This is a fun, creative craft project and it will help your kid get a better understanding what’s beneath our feet.
Another paper craft project that you can do is to create interactive layers of the Earth by using different colored papers. Each paper resembles a layer of the eart and with a brass paper fastener you can put all the layers on top of each other. Here’s the full tutorial about this Interactive Earth Science Activity.
4. Layers of the Earth Cake Project
You can also make a cake in the shape of the globe with layers. When you cut the cake it’s going to show the different, colored layers of the Earth.
The ingredients for this cake are:
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup of all purpose flour
- 2/3 cups of self raising flour
- 1 and 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of almond meal
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 1/3 cup of butter
- Yellow and red food coloring
For the 3 layers of the cake you can use cake balls for the core with a white cake recipe. For the second layer use a 3 inch sphere silicone mold. And for the third layer use a 6 inch spheric cake pan, a great size for the globe.
Watch the video below to create the Earth cake yourself:
With these fun projects not only geologists can discover the secrets of the Earth but our kids as well! Another great Earth activity is to check out a 3D model of the Earth like the one below:
Or read some great books about it:
If you have any questions or other great layers of the earth projects suggestions, let me know in the comments below!