Earth Structure
activity exercisesuggested grade levels: 4- 6
view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

The structure of the earth can sometimes be a hard concept for very young people to grasp. This activity gives students a hands-on experience for learning about the structure of the earth. If there is a limited amount of time, it can be done as a demonstration.

1. Expose students to the Digital Atlas of Idaho. Background information obtained in the geology sections would be useful in introducing the basic composition of the earth.
2. Teachers may want to do this activity when talking about earthquakes. The outer layer of the ball would represent the outer crust of the earth. Teachers can discuss the movement of the outer crust and how it relates to continental drift.
3. Each student will receive a Styrofoam ball with a wedge that has been cut out.
4. Students will color and label the different layers of the earth with watercolors or with crayons. Students can glue paper cutouts of the continents on the surface. If desired, teachers can have students also trace the major land plates on the surface of the earth.
5. Summarize what these Styrofoam models represent.

Styrofoam balls Colored pencils/crayons
Colored paper Scissors

To get to the Earthquake section of the Digital Atlas: Click on Atlas Home, mouse-over Geology, then click on Earthquakes.

Handouts/Activity links:
These are links to access the handouts and printable materials.

Related Lesson Topics:
Geology: Geology Topics

Lesson Plan by Vita Taube, 2000
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity: