3. Journey Through Earth - Lesson and Assessment

Lesson Plan
Download a detailed lesson plan for this activity from Eric Muller’s website.

Assessment
Have students complete the handout during the walk or afterwards. As you describe each part of the journey, students can label the borders between each layer and describe the composition, temperature, pressure, and physical properties of each layer on the handout.

Going Further

  1. Have students build a cutaway, to scale, model of the Earth using a Styrofoam ball. Cut away a quarter of the ball and use markers to color in each layer. Draw a map (possibly showing the tectonic plates) on the outer surface. Label the model by with pins attached to a short description on paper.
  2. Study the convection cells that take place in the mantle and that (partially) drive the movement of tectonic plates. See Convection in a Pan activity.
  3. Try the “Shadows from the Core” activity from the UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory and discover how the deflections of seismic waves through the Earth gave researchers clues about the different composition and density of each of the Earth’s layers.
  4. Read Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth (or excerpts from it). It’s a classic early science fiction novel.