play dough layers of the earth model

Layers of the Earth lesson



This year we’re covering two sciences: astronomy and earth science.  Our first several lessons of earth science have been wonderful because it’s coincided well with our geography.  This week we started on the layers of the earth, and I was happy as a clam when Eva Varga shared her layers of the earth lesson, so I could freely steal from it.

play dough layers of the earth model

Our Layers of the Earth lesson

{This post contains affiliate links.  For more information read my disclosure page}


First off was the book work, I read them the passage from CKE Earth and Space (affiliate link) and they were all interested in the different layers, and could recite them back, but I’m not sure they got it completely.  Thankfully day 2 of the week’s lesson in Illuminations (affiliate link) was the hands on activity, and the kids really got into it.

making play dough for layers of the earth lesson

First, I made the play dough.  Well to be more accurate, I started to make the play dough only to discover we were out of cream of tartar sauce.  This led to a panicked post to the Kid Blogger Network group on Facebook asking if I could make play dough without it, because I was already halfway through measuring and mixing up stuff.  Between their answers and my google searches I decided to just leave out the cream of tartar.  I did however let one of the boys take way too many pictures of us making it.

Then I sat the kids down and started reviewing and putting together our models.  I was very surprised at how much they’d remembered because I thought they hadn’t remembered a thing, but they could tell it all to me as they put together their models.

layers of the earth, inner core

The inner core we decided should be red because it’s “red hot.”  I mistakenly told them it was liquid because it was so hot, and then I flash-backed to Star Wars Episodes I (affiliate link) and started snickering about a liquid core and swimming through it, and how it doesn’t work like that (you may have some clue why my kids don’t focus well, my mind is a truly scary place).

layers of the earth model outer core The outer core is the actual liquid part.  We chose for it to be yellow to show how hot it still is, but not as hot as the inner core.

layers of the earth mantle

We chose white for the mantle, and that’s mainly because I couldn’t convince anyone to mix colors in for another color of play dough.  They were kind of done with kneading and mixing play dough for colors.  They wanted to play.

layers of the earth crust

The crust is green or blue depending on my kid.  Batman chose green because he likes yellow and blue, and green is yellow and blue mixed together.  Superman chose blue because he likes blue best.  Princess was sad because she couldn’t put pink on the outside.  But the green represents the land, and the blue represents water.  I figure out earth is 70% water on the surface, so that’s close enough.

layers of the earth lesson printable

At the end of it all they put together the layers of the earth printable from Eva Varga’s post I linked to at the top.

I was quite pleasantly surprised a few days later when I asked about the different layers and the kids were able to tell  them to me along with what the layers were like, so lesson well learned.


If you’d like some more earth science ideas, I’d highly recommend checking out my Earth Sciences pinterest board.

Mac bath experience

And for those of you wondering what ended up happening with our dog, we washed him again in baking soda, dish soap, and vinegar, and he was not happy.  In the end he had some very soft fur, still smelled slightly of skunk, and was very unhappy with us.



I also have some rather sad news.  This will be the last Science Sunday with a linkie.  I’ve been praying and thinking over this for a while, and I think it’s time to close this down.  I’ll still be writing our science adventures fairly regularly, but I’ve noticed not as many of you linking up, and not many of you click through to check on the links that are linked up.  Next week I’ll feature the best from this month, and that will be the end of it.



19 responses to “Layers of the Earth lesson”

  1. I am sorry to hear that you are giving up this linking, but I understand. I think I will link up our layers of the earth dessert.

    1. We just made your “Roman road dessert,” this past week, and it was a huge hit.

  2. Sad to see the linky go, but I totally understand! Love your model of the earth, and hopefully by now your dog smells better!

    1. I’m sad too, hopefully it’ll let me concentrate on bigger and better things, that’s what I’m telling myself.

      He mostly smells better, but still not great.

    2. They make a product called skunk off that works pretty well; maybe that would help….

  3. Annette Whipple Avatar
    Annette Whipple

    Another cool lesson. Your inner core comment made me smile. I get it. 🙂

    Sounds like it was time to stop the linky…I know it’s hard to do, but hope you are content with the choice. 🙂 Priorities…

    1. I am content, a little sad, but content, which means it’s definitely time.

  4. The linkie had a good run, and been a good inspiration to many of us. Your play dough core layers look like our Kandinsky cookies…wish I’d thought to do a double purposed activity!

    Poor dog! And poor you. But the pictures are great 🙂

    1. That it did.

      Oh good point, those would be good activities to tie together.

      The pictures I allowed to be posted are good 🙂

  5. I have been meaning to do this with my kids for ages – like, back when we were both newbie bloggers! Thanks for reminding me! I will miss your science linky, but completely understand ending it. I look forward to reading more of your science posts!

    1. I’m sure there will be lots more of them.

      I know, I’ve had so many play dough earth layers linked up here, it’s been kind of fun.

  6. My kids loved doing the layers of the earth, too! It’s a great activity!

    1. It really is. I forgot to link to yours as another great example.

  7. I’m sorry too you are ending the linkie. I tend to post less science posts these days, because I frankly need a kick up my back side to actually do science. These days it has become a complete weak spot in my home school, although I intend to change that come the introduction of curriculum after Christmas.
    Thanks for faithfully running it each Sunday.xx

    1. Thanks! I can’t wait to see what you introduce come Christmas.

  8. I am honoured to be part of the very last Science Sunday – thank you for all the work you have put into it over the years, Ticia. I can’t imagine being organised enough to run a regular linkie in a million years!

    Such a good idea to use play dough for your Earth models. We did fully spherical plasticene models and got through SO MUCH PLASTICENE! And then my son refused to cut his work of art open. That was about 18 months ago – his blue & green cannonball is still on our shelf. Luckily we were able to examine the cross-sectional layers in my daughter’s model.

    My mind is like yours. We have to remind ourselves of the positives. Ooh, shiny …

    1. The idea of organized and me in the same sentence makes me laugh, but blogging and homeschooling have certainly forced more organization into my life.

      Oh my that would be a lot of plasticene. I can’t imagine doing it as one solid sphere and cutting it up, I”m sure I’d get huge cries of outrage.

  9. That’s too bad about the linky, but it’s kind of lonely being one host – this is why I gave up on WMCIR some time back. But, the layers of Earth look really cool and certainly memorable.

    1. It certainly is lonely.

      They certainly are remembering it so far.

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