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3D Layers of the Earth Section Model

Activity: Building a 3D Layers of the Earth Section Model

In this engaging activity, participants will create a 3D model of the Earth’s layers, including the inner core, outer core, mantle, and crust, while gaining insights into the Earth’s composition and scale.

Learning Outcome:

Participants will develop a comprehensive understanding of the Earth’s layers and their respective sizes. By creating a scaled 3D model, they will enhance their mathematical and spatial reasoning skills. This activity encourages research, calculation, and hands-on construction to accurately represent the layers of the Earth.

Activity Steps:

  1. Print the Earth Layers Template:
  • Begin by printing the provided Earth Layers Template, which will serve as the foundation for constructing the 3D model. This template includes outlines of the Earth’s layers.
  1. Cut and Score the Template:
  • Carefully cut out the template along its edges. Additionally, score along the internal lines, as these will guide the folding and assembly of the model.
  1. Research and Gather Information:
  • Explain to participants that to create an accurate model, they will need information about the sizes of the Earth’s layers. Encourage them to research the following measurements: Inner Core (1255 km), Outer Core (2221 km), Mantle (2900 km), and Crust (6 to 11 km).
  1. Calculate Scale Measurements:
  • Discuss the concept of scale with participants. To calculate the length of each section of the model, they will need to determine what 1 km represents in their model’s scale. This involves dividing the printed length by the Earth’s radius (approximately 6384 km). For example, if the printed length is 105 mm, the calculation would be: 105 / 6384 ≈ 0.016 mm per 1 km. Participants can then calculate the length for each layer:
    • Inner Core: 1255 km x 0.016 = 21 mm
    • Outer Core: 2221 km x 0.016 = 37 mm
    • Mantle: 2900 km x 0.016 = 48 mm
    • Crust: 8 km x 0.016 = 1 mm Participants should adapt these calculations to their specific model size based on their printer and paper.
  1. Creating the Model:
  • Starting at the pointed end of the template, measure out the calculated distance for the Inner Core and mark it on each line. Connect these marks to create a continuous line.
  • Repeat the process for the Outer Core, Mantle, and Crust, marking and connecting the distances on each section of the template.
  1. Color and Add Details:
  • Color the sections of the Earth’s layers to distinguish them. Additionally, add a representation of the ocean and land to the end of the model, as appropriate.
  1. Assemble the Model:
  • Fold along the scored lines to create tabs. Apply glue to these tabs and carefully assemble the model, layer by layer, starting with the Inner Core and progressing outward.
  1. Discussion and Reflection:
  • After completing the 3D model, engage participants in a discussion about what they have learned. Encourage them to reflect on the significance of each layer and the process of creating a scaled representation.

This activity not only reinforces understanding of Earth’s layers but also promotes mathematical skills in calculating scale and spatial awareness during model construction. Participants will appreciate the complexities of the Earth’s composition through hands-on learning and research.

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