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What’s Below the Earth’s Surface?

Is your knowledge about the Earth’s layers rock solid? Create a down-to-Earth 3-D display with Crayola Markers.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. People have only journeyed 1/500 of the way to the center of the Earth. That’s about 13 km (8 miles) down, where it’s really hot. Geologists have discovered a lot about the layers that lie below the surface. What can you find out? Here’s one way to show what you’re learning about geology.
    2. With an adult, locate a good-sized rock that could represent a slice of Earth. Wash and dry the rock. (If rocks are not available, cover an armature of crumpled newspaper with Crayola Model Magic® to make a replica. Air-dry the sculpture.)
    3. Write on the rock with Crayola Markers to divide it into three main layers: crust, mantle, and core. Color code each one. Then mark each sub-layer. Illustrate unique characteristics, such as the amount of heat or geologic activity found within that layer.
    4. With Crayola Scissors, cut small triangles from recycled file folders for labels. Write the name of each layer. Outline each triangle with the color(s) used in your key.
    5. Roll a small ball of Model Magic for each label. Flatten the ball on the rock. Stick a label point into the ball. Secure the ball on the rock with Crayola School Glue. Air-dry your rock-solid project.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

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

    LA: Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    MATH: Solve problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements from a larger unit to a smaller unit.

    SCI: Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Identify and describe ways family, groups, and community influence the individual's daily life and personal choices.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth by Joanna Cole; Home on the Earth: A Song about Earth's Layers by Laura Purdie Salas

    Students investigate the career of a geologist. What type of education does one need in order to be given the title of geologist? What is the typical work day like? What types of travel are involved with the job?

    Challenge students to plot the rock cycle of the Earth's crust from igneous to sedimentary to metamorphic rock. Illustrate this process graphically.

    Encourage students to depict soil layers of the Earth's crust, such as topsoil, subsoil, and more rocky levels including bedrock. How would students represent other various ingredients such as fossil fuels.

    What are fossil fuels? How are they formed? Students investigate the process, length of time it takes for the fuels to form, etc. Organize research into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.


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