Layers of the Earth: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Debra Patuto

Debra has taught at elementary levels and has an M.ed with certification in elementary education and special education

Although the Earth might look like a solid ball, it's actually made up of several layers. This lesson will teach you some cool facts about the layers of Earth. We'll start with the outer crust and dig deep down to the core all while exploring the layers in between.

Take a Walk

If you were to go out for a walk, what would you see? Depending on where you live, you might step onto stone, grass or soil. You might see houses, apartment buildings and schools. If you live near water, you might see a river, a pond or a stream. You might even see mountains, deserts or forests. This is all on Earth's outer crust. Let's dig deeper and explore more about Earth and its layers.

Earth's Layers

The layers of Earth are commonly compared to the layers of an onion. As you peel off the layers, you get closer and closer to the core, or the center of Earth.

Earth has four layers. If you could peel back each layer, you would find the outer crust that we live on, then the mantle, the outer core, and the inner core.


How The Layers Formed

Billions of years ago when Earth was made, it was extremely hot. Over time, the outside layers of Earth cooled down and the outer crust turned hard. The inside of Earth remained hot.

The Crust

Earth's crust is found on the outer surface and is made of minerals and solid rocks. Oceanic crust and continental crust are the two types of Earth's crust. The oceanic crust is the layer of earth that oceans sit upon. The continental crust is the land on which we live. Soil that grows our plants, trees and food is made from Earth's crust that has been broken down over time.

The Mantle

Peel back the layer of crust and you'll find the next layer called the mantle. The mantle is solid rock, but it's not completely hard. The heat inside of Earth keeps the rock from getting completely hard. It stays in a moldable state, sort of like play-dough, and it can slowly move. The hot magma from within the mantle can travel up towards the crust and can cause volcanoes to erupt and earthquakes.

This picture shows an active volcano.
volcano erupting

The Core

Once you've peeled back the outer layers, you end up in Earth's center, called the core. The core is split into two layers, the outer core and the inner core.

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