Lesson Plan

Digging in the Earth's Interior

Students will construct an explanation with evidence to explain why it is impossible to dig through the ground to the other side of the earth.
Andrew D.
Classroom teacher
Saint Joachim Catholic School
Costa Mesa, CA
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My Grades 6, 7, 8
My Subjects Math, Science

Students will be able to...

I can accurately identify the four layers of the Earth’s interior

I can describe several characteristics of the Earth’s crust, mantle, and core

I can apply what I’ve learned about the Earth’s interior to explain how earthquakes, volcanoes, and other rapid changes on Earth occur

Grades 6
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Engage

Activity: Other — SmartBoard/Chromebook

1) The teacher has the students look up at the Smartboard, which has the following YouTube video open:


2) Then bring the students attention to the question displayed on the board: ‘Do you think it is possible to dig through the ground to the other side of the Earth? Why?


3) Bring class together for a discussion


4) Leave students with question: ‘How do we know what’s down there?’

Student Instructions

1) In this video, students will watch a clip from Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, which has a twisted and funny view of how things formed on Earth.


2) For this part, I will direct the students to use their Chromebooks to answer this question.


3) I will use popsicle sticks to draw names and have them share their thoughts.


4) Geologists have used two main types of evidence to learn about Earth’s interior: direct evidence from rock samples and indirect evidence from seismic waves. Geologists have used this evidence to build a picture of Earth’s interior.

2 Explore

Activity: Other — SmartBoard/Chromebook

1) Students will look at the SmartBoard to see an interactive simulation of the Earth’s layers:


Student Instructions

As the teacher introduces the students to the interactive tool, emailed them the link so that they are able to access it. Students will be creating a model of the Earth’s layers, but first they need to gather information about each layer’s composition, deth/thickness, and temperature. By doing this, students will be able to develop a clearer understanding as to why people cannot make their way to the other side of the side through the center of the Earth.


In the interactive tool, students will be given a visual of the layer and several facts pertaining to that layer. Students are to use a Google Doc in their Chromebook to take down at least five facts about each layer. The students must have the following information included in their facts: composed of…, temperature, and depth.

3 Explain

Activity: Other — SmartBoard/Chromebook

1) Show the students a quick YouTube clip of the Earth’s layers:



2) Ask the students if they know what a scale model means.


3) After we discuss models, explain that the students will be constructing a scale model of the Earth

Student Instructions

1) This clip will give the students a representation and a visual of the thickness of each layer of the Earth. By doing this, it will show the students how small the crust is in comparison to the other three layers.


2) Randomly call on a few students and welcome any example. Go on to explain that all these models represent a smaller version of the actual thing.

4 Elaborate

Activity: Other — SmartBoard

1) Initiate a whole class discussion on how using a scaled model of Earth's layers in comparison to Earth's actual dimensions is helpful to scientists. Discuss how a scale model of the Earth helps scientists figure out natural phenomena that occur deep below the surface like earthquakes, volcanoes, and landslides.   


2) Assign students into groups of four. With this portion of the lesson, the students will create a Google Doc (that will be shared with one another) which shows a conversion table of how to calculate the scaled dimensions of the Earth.


3) Using the same groups, the students will build a scale clay model of the Earth’s layers. Monitor the progress of each group making sure that the thickness of each layer is appropriate.

5 Evaluate

Activity: Other — Chromebook

1) Each group of students will present their scale model and conversion table to the class.


2) Once the presentations are complete, students will work independently to answer the following question: ‘Is it possible to dig through the center of the Earth and get to the other side of the Earth?’

Student Instructions

2) When students are individually responding to this question, look for details about what each layer is composed of, temperature, and depth.