Layers of the Earth Lesson Plan

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Take your students on a journey through the layers of the Earth. A video lesson engages students with the facts, while a hands-on activity allows them to create models of the Earth's layers.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify the different layers of the Earth
  • outline the characteristics of each of Earth's layers
  • create a model of the layers of the Earth


1 hour


  • Four colors of modeling clay
  • Plastic knives

Curriculum Standards

  • NGSS Earth's Systems Standard: MS-ESS2-1

Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.

  • NGSS Earth's Systems Standard: MS-ESS2-2

Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales.

Key Vocabulary

  • Crust
  • Mantle
  • Outer core
  • Inner core


  • Begin by asking students to imagine that they were going to use a shovel to dig deeper and deeper into the Earth. What do they think they would they encounter along the way? Have them share their ideas and discuss these as a class.
  • Now play the video lesson The Layers of the Earth: Facts, Composition & Temperature, pausing at 0:53.
  • While the first part of the video is playing, write the following terms on the board:



Outer core

Inner core

  • With the video lesson paused, have students write down what they think makes up each of the layers listed on the board. Discuss these as a class, writing key points on the board next to the appropriate layer.
  • Ask students to take notes on the key facts for each layer of the Earth as you play the remainder of the lesson.
  • When the video lesson has played in its entirety, have students share some of the key facts that they noted regarding the four layers of the Earth written on the board. How does the information about the layers of the Earth compare to the ideas the students presented earlier in the lesson? Discuss this as a class.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it now

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 220 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Used by over 30 million students worldwide
Create an account