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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

Length

1 hour

Materials

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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 Study.com 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:

Crust

Mantle

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.

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