Earth's Structure

How do we know what layers are inside of the earth since we can't dig that deep? The first in a series of five lessons introduces the concept of sampling and testing a hypothesis about what is inside a sphere. Using two spheres that look the same, but are clearly different weights, scholars must decide how to find out what is inside without destroying the ball.

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CCSS: Adaptable
NGSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Include photos from fault lines or volcanoes near you in the introduction to the lesson
  • If possible, have a variety of clay balls that are the same size, but different weights — some filled with metal, some hollow, etc.
Classroom Considerations

  • Assumes some basic prior knowledge of plate tectonics
  • This resource is only available on an unencrypted HTTP website. It should be fine for general use, but don’t use it to share any personally identifiable information

  • Hands-on, inquiry-based lesson adjusts easily to take up as little or as much time as necessary
  • Provides resources from multiple continents
  • Video includes closed captioning for the hearing impaired

  • None
Common Core