Clay Model Of the Earth’s Layers

How to make a clay earth

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.

the magic school bus 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).

diameter of the Earth's inner core

Next the melted metal outer core.

how to make a clay earth

Then the solid rock mantle.

how to make a clay model of the earth

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.

how to make a clay model of the earth

And finally, the oceans and continents.


how to make a model clay earth

When you’re done, use a sharp knife to cut your Earth in half to reveal it in cross-section.

how to make a clay model of the earth


how to make a clay model earth


how to make a clay model Earth

C(9) used a toothpick to label the layers.

how to make a clay model of the Earth

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!)

Hat Tip

My original inspiration for this came from Meet the Dubiens – Jill’s lovely photo was one of my very first Pinterest pins.

Further Resources

How to make a clay model  earth

Magic School Bus Inside the Earth

 The Crayon Rock Cycle

I’m appreciatively linking up with:

History and Geography Meme at All Things Beautiful

Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom

Hobbies and Handicrafts at Highhill Homeschool

Collage Friday at Homegrown Learners

Look What We Did at Hammock Tracks

Weekly Wrap Up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Money Saving Monday at Life’s Little Adventures

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