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Looking Inside the Earth

Build a model of the earth's crust with Crayola® Model Magic®.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Ask small groups of students to investigate how the earth's layers tell the story of any part of the planet, from millions of years ago until today. Students explore how sedimentary rock was created, and how land is built up and eroded by water or ice, in a process of constant change. Provide a variety of text and electronic resources for students to view.
    2. Once research is complete, groups organize their research and prepare a visual to represent their new learning about the earth's layers.
    3. Using Crayola Model Magic, students form a cross-section sculpture that demonstrates knowledge of the relationship between water and land. To create a hollow model, use a cardboard base and form the Model Magic around a support such as a drinking straw or twig. Include features both above and below ground.
    4. Some possibilities to create: Simulate rock pieces that were pressed into layers of solid rock. Embed small fossils. Demonstrate the effects of erosion and weathering on the surface. Depict underground rivers and lakes. Create underground caves to show the effects of water on limestone. Show how dripping water leaves deposits of calcium carbonate, forming stalactites and stalagmites. Dry overnight.
    5. Have students cover their work areas with recycled newspaper. Paint the model using Crayola Washable Watercolors.
    6. Student groups share their models with classmates. In preparation for displaying models in the classroom, ask student groups to prepare a written summary of their research to accompany their models.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grade level text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    LA: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

    MATH: Draw and identify lines and angles, and classify shapes by properties of their lines and angles.

    MATH: Solve problems involving measurement and estimation of intervals of time, liquid volumes, and masses of objects.

    SCI: Obtain information about the locations of a variety of Earth’s features and map the geographic patterns that emerge.

    SCI: Analyze maps and other data to determine the likelihood of geological hazards occurring in an area and evaluate the possible effects on landforms and organisms.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Planet Earth/Inside Out by Gail Gibbons; The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth by Joanna Cole

    Organize a field trip to a local cave. Prior to the trip, ask students to generate a list of questions that they would like answered on the visit. Afterwards, students post new learning to a class blog.

    Invite a community member, that is also a spelunker, to visit with students and share his experiences with them. Prior to the meeting, students compose questions for the expert. After the visit, students post learning to a class blog.

    Students study fossils of plants and animals. In creating the fossil replicas, use crayon rubbings or Crayola Model Magic impressions of objects.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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