Making a 3D model is an easy hands-on way for kids to learn what the Earth is made of.
We read about the Earth’s layers, to begin with, in The Magic Schoolbus – Inside the Earth.
Then we grabbed some clay and the children used the pictures from the book to make their own models. (I was going to make one too, until I realised how much plasticine we were going to get through!)
First roll a small ball of clay for the solid metal inner core.
The inner core is about 1,500 miles in diameter. We used an atlas to calculate that this is equivalent to the distance from London to Madrid (or San Diego to Memphis).
Next the melted metal outer core.
Then the solid rock mantle.
Followed by the Earth’s crust (one layer in our models, but in reality, layers of sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rock). We looked at these when we simulated the rock cycle with crayons.
And finally, the oceans and continents.
When you’re done, use a sharp knife to cut your Earth in half to reveal it in cross-section.
C(9) used a toothpick to label the layers.
Top Tips For Making A Clay Model Earth (What We Might Do Differently…)
- Use play dough rather than plasticine, especially in winter. Cold plasticine takes a long time for little hands to mould.
- If you do use plasticine (we did), warm it up in the microwave – this makes it much easier to work with. On the plus side, our clay Earths will last as long as the real one!
- Don’t make your inner core too big. We were surprised how much more clay was required to make each successive layer. (Good learning!)
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