Layers of the Earth Clay Models

We finished our study of rocks and minerals and the rock cycle. We made crystals, painted pet rocks, made flap books on the 3 types of rocks and we read many books too. 

Just for fun I showed them the 4 layers of our earth in a coloring page model and then we made clay models using a metal BB for the inner core, and 3 colors of clay for the other 3 layers. It was lots of fun. Everybody chose different colors of clay. Then we pushed a popsicle stick into them and cut out a little wedge to see the layers.

Here we have the CRUST, THE MANTLE, THE OUTER CORE AND THE INNER METAL BB CORE. I bought regular modeling clay with a coupon at Hobby Lobby.

What are the four main layers of the Earth? Check out this worksheet HERE. We had fun making a clay model on a popsicle stick.

  • THE INNER CORE – It is the fourth and innermost layer of the Earth. Here, temperatures reach 7,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The inner core is also made up of molten iron and is 1,500 miles thick. It will be represented by a metal BB. 

My little student Svetha did a beautiful colored model and labeled the 4 layers of the earth Here. 
• THE OUTER CORE – It is the third inner layer of the Earth. The outer core is made up of molten iron and is 1,425 miles thick. It will be represented by red clay wrapped around a BB.

We had a wordsearch with questions on the back of the coloring page model of the Earth’s Layers.

• THE MANTLE – It is the second layer of the Earth. It is the thickest layer, at 1,750 miles thick. Many minerals in the mantle are hot enough to become liquefied yet. It will be represented by orange or yellow clay. 

 THE CRUST – It is the outermost layer of the Earth and is between four to 25 miles thick. It is made up of sand, dirt and rock. It will be represented by blue clay. 

Everybody colored their coloring page of the Earth’s layers  to match their clay model.  

A cool lesson plan and free worksheet on  layers of the earth can be found HERE at Volcanoes Alive.
Another one I liked is at It had a downloadable fill in the blank diagram that looked fun and both of these will go along with my clay lesson plan. Another great resource for Rocks is HERE at mjksc teaching ideas. One of their worksheets I might try with my students is HERE.

I liked this one a lot. I think next year I’ll try to find just green blue and red clay. 

We learned about the Rock Cycle – mostly from this THINKQUEST and a few books and posters on Rocks, Volcanos, Crystals. I have posters like these in my classroom, plus we watched the Magic School Bus video on Volcanoes.  Thanks to one of my mom helpers and Andrew, her son, we had a cool demonstration of a Volcano erupting using baking soda and vinegar and a model volcano.

Here is my class with their clay models of the earth’s layers. I think they liked doing them.
ROCK FAMILY SONG Check out this song about the different types of rocks HERE.

A fun wordsearch and a little quiz on layers of the earth to go with it can be downloaded Share It is a little tricky to figure out how to download it, just follow the directions (type in the code) on the upper left hand side of the page. If you go anywhere else it is all advertising tricks. Another one she had was giving each student a mini snickers bar unwrapped in a baggie. They press and sit and stand on the snickers bar and it becomes “changed” like a metamorphic rock, with heat and pressure. What a great idea!

HERE  is a cute printable SONG about the 3 types of ROCKS!
Check out ROCKY’s Rock Cycle. Also HERE  at Have Fun Teaching is a Rocks ABC Order Worksheet we also did. It has many of the vocabulary words we studied this week.This KIDS GEO.COM website is SUPER GREAT  because it has  cute songs to go along with  WONDERFUL pictures of all 3 rock types.

I got this cute book Lets Go Rock Collecting  on Amazon. It was just right for teaching the Rock Cycle to 2nd Graders. I have the Gail Gibbons book Planet Earth/Inside Out on order. It looks good too!

VOCABULARY WORDS THIS WEEK – all from our unit. We also used them for spelling words. 

1. Igneous rock- rock formed from cooled magma or lava.
2. Sedimentary rock- rock that formed when sediments were pressed and cemented together.
3. Metamorphic rock- rock that formed when another kind of rock was squeezed and heated deep inside Earth’s crust.
4. Rock cycle- the process of rocks changing into other kinds of rock.
5. Fossils- the remains or traces of an organism that lived long ago.
6. Volcano- a mountain built up from hardened lava, rocks, and ash that erupted out of Earth.
7. Lava-melted rock that flows out of the ground onto Earth’s surface.
8. Magma- melted rock below Earths surface

9. erosion – when bits of rock and sand are taken away by wind or water and packed as sediment somewhere else. 
10. crystals – a mineral having a clear structure with cut faces. (like quartz) 

Check out the other things we did for Rocks HERE and for Crystal Experiments and HERE. I think we 
did pretty good for a first try at this unit. The gal who used to teach it retired last year and we forgot to ask her to leave her stuff, so I had to invent the unit from scratch this year. I think it turned out great! 

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