Layers of the Earth Activity – Playdough Planet
Let’s explore a cool science activity you can try today in class! This activity would be great for the more kinesthetic learners in the classroom.
It would also be a good idea to complete it AFTER they have been thoroughly introduced to the concept of the different layers of the Earth.
Things you’ll need:
- Five different colors of Playdough, two for the crust, and then one for each sub-layer of the planet. In this case, it would be best to use the following colors for each part:
- Green and blue – mantle
- Brown – crust
- Orange or yellow – outer core
- Red – inner core
- Paper plates – these will give the students a place to work that won’t make a big mess on their desks.
- Diagram of the different parts to show students which colors belong where.
- Knife – this doesn’t need to be very sharp. Its only job is to cut the “planets in half once they are fully assembled so that the students can see the layers.
- Toothpicks, masking tape, and markers (optional) – these can be used by older students to label the different layers of their planet once they have been sliced in half.
- Review with the students the different layers of the Earth, talking about what each one looks like and where it is located.
- Show them the diagram of the Earth, highlighting the different colors and their location.
- Provide students with the plates and Playdough.
- Show them how to roll their layers into balls to start, and then flat so that they can wrap around each other.
- Make sure that they students start from the inside and work their way out.
- Once they have completed their Earth, have them come to you so that you can slice their planet in half for them.
- Review what each part is called and where it is located within the planet. Also discuss what it would feel like if you were there (hotter as you got deeper)
- If you have older students you may wish to have them label the different parts using the toothpicks, tape, and markers.