Science Explorers
Science Explorers

Children are always curious about learning new things and have a natural fascination with scientific concepts — like why the sky is blue or why it rains. Feeding their curiosity is a great way to shape how they see the world. You can teach children about concepts such as the layers of the Earth using fun techniques like playdough activities.

How Playdough Helps Children Learn

Using items like playdough to teach science to young students makes concepts fun and tactile. Interacting with the lesson with multiple senses teaches children about how tangible and relevant the subject is to their real lives.

Furthermore, it makes the learning experience immersive and makes it easier for children to conceptualize the theoretical side of science. Students get to tie their fun experiences to new information, allowing them to retain the lessons and use them throughout their lives.

How to Teach Children About the Layers of the Earth

Previously, children might have been taught about the Earth with flat two-dimensional diagrams with labels that pointed to the crust, mantle, outer core and inner core on a cross-section of the planet. Then, classrooms upgraded to three-dimensional globes that teachers used to illustrate the layers or allowed the children to pass around.

Now, we find that using playdough is a lot more fun and keeps every student stimulated enough to concentrate on the lesson being taught. To carry out this exciting teaching method, teachers or parents simply need a few items: playdough and a knife or floss.

Instructions for Using Playdough for Earth Layers

If using this method at home, parents can easily make their own playdough with flour, water, oil, cream of tartar and salt. After mixing these ingredients, cook the mixture for a few minutes to thicken it. Then, incorporate food coloring once it has cooled and gone from sticky to tacky and workable.

Once you have your different-colored playdough pieces, instruct the children to form a ball with one of the colors. This will be the Earth’s inner core. If you want to make the model photorealistic, use red dough to illustrate the core’s extreme heat, as it consists of iron and nickel.

Take a bigger piece of playdough and flatten it to tightly wrap it around the ball. If realism is the goal, we suggest using orange to show the gradual cooling of the layers as they get further away from the inner core.

From there, you want to encase both layers in a bigger layer that illustrates the Earth’s mantle. Yellow can be used here because this layer is solid rock, unlike the minerals and metals of the cores. Finally, with blue and green dough, you can form the Earth’s crust. This is the part of the planet we live on, made of water and continental rock.

Employing a knife or piece of floss, cut through the playdough planet and label the layers of the Earth in a way that children can use to show others what they have learned with the fun scientific activity.

Let Your Children Experience More Science-Based Fun

As children get older, their curiosity grows with them. Give them the tools and space to experiment using our exciting elementary school programs. Contact us to find out how your kids can get more science lessons during our after-school clubs or summer camps!

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