Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Earth's Layers: DIY 3-D Diagram

It's hard to imagine what's deep down inside our planet, but to help my 5th grade son remember, he made a diagram.

Despite his hatred of cutting and art, he really enjoyed seeing how his diagram came together. And now he can refer to it any time to see just what exactly is deep, deep underneath our feet!

Large earth to cut out (download my free PDF from Google Drive if you need one)
Colored paper in brown, yellow, orange, and black
Circular objects in various sizes to trace
Chalk (optional)

How to Make It
Step 1: Lay your earth picture over top of the brown paper and cut out the earth. You'll be cutting a brown circle the exact same size as your earth. This is the earth's crust. Set your earth aside until step 6.

Step 2: Find a circular object slightly smaller than your earth. Trace it onto the yellow paper and cut it out. This is the earth's mantle. Center it inside the brown circle and glue it in place.

Step 3: Find another circular object that is smaller than the yellow mantle layer you just made. Trace it on orange paper and cut it out. Center it inside the yellow circle and glue it in place. This is the outer core.

Step 4: Find a small round object and trace it on black paper. Cut it out, center it in the middle of the orange circle and glue it in place. This is the inner core.

Step 5: Add labels to each of your layers.

Step 6: Orient your earth correctly and fold the left side over the right so you have a vertical crease in the middle. When "closed" you won't be able to see the earth's continents.

Step 7: Do the same to the earth's core, folding it in on itself in half vertically.

Step 8: Glue the back of the earth's right side to the back of the core's left side. When laid flat, your earth will cover the folded core you made.

Step 9: Glue to a piece of black or dark blue construction paper to simulate space. Add stars with white chalk (optional).

Before we embarked on this project we read Magic School Bus: Inside the Earth, which helped us visualize a trip through all of the earth's layers. It also contains a handy illustration to refer to when you're making your 3-D diagram!


  1. Such a fabulous idea! I love the 3-d effect! Thanks for sharing!
    The Classroom Game Nook Blog

  2. Hi! Thanks so much for posting and sharing this.

  3. Thank you so much! This is exactly what I needed for our homeschool next week!