Playdough Planet – How to Make a Model of the Earth’s Layers
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 different layers of the Earth.
Things you’ll need:
You will need five different colors of Playdough (Playdoh): 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
Some additional equipment you’ll need:
Paper plates – these will give the students a place to work that won’t make a big mess on their desks.
A 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.