Begin with a simple question: "What do you know about the inner structure of the earth?That is, what is the Earth like on the inside?" Create a KWL (Know-Want to Know-Learned) chart by listing their response in the “Know” column of the chart. Fill in thenext column of the chart by asking what they want to know about the Earth's innerstructure and recording their responses. Keep this chart up throughout the activity andrefer to it, clarifying knowledge, adjusting factual misconceptions, and pointing outconnections to the students' areas of interest.
of the learning cycle is as follows: offer student groups a varietyof types of groups and vegetables (peach or nectarine, avocado, potato, space or edge,apple, grape, tomato, etc.) and ask them to choose the one that they think best representsthe structure of the earth, especially considering what the plan is like on the inside. Besure that they know they will be responsible for explaining their reasoning. Providestudents with enough time to complete the task.
Now, to begin the
phase of the learning cycle, asked each studentgroup to present its vegetable or fruit choice and rationale. Because the explanations willbe based on very limited knowledge, ask what they need to know about the Earth toreally pick the best piece of produce as an Earth model. List their responses on the board.They should want to know more about what the inside of the earth is like.Recall that the purpose of the conceptual invention phase is to build on thethoughts and findings from the exploration phase. Therefore, during and after theirfruit/vegetable model presentations, explain the basics about the internal composition ofour planet. Include the basic cross-section of core, mantle, and crust.
Proceed on to the
conceptual expansion phase
of the learning cycle by asking studentsagain which produce item is the best model of the earth, based on a new understanding ofthe facts. Ask each group to explain their answers in light of information about theEarth's inner structure. Did they choose a different produce item this time? Why or whynot?Have each student draw a cross-section of the earth, labeling the core, mantle, andcrust. Point out that this cross-sectional model is done in two dimensions (height andwidth). Also explain that they should base their drawings on the approximate diametersof each layer, which are as follows:Core = 3400 km; Mantle = 2900 km; Crust = 50 kmAsk, "If you are going to make a three-dimensional, cross-sectional model of theearth, made from three different colors of clay (core = blue, mantle = red, crust = green),how much of each color would you need? That is, would you need more blue, red, orgreen, and can decide just how much you would need to make your ‘model earth’ in thecross-section?" Be sure each group can explain its rationale.As the student groups complete the calculations/estimates, offer clay and balancesso they might weigh out the proper amount of each color and build their models. Groupscan then compare and analyze their models for accuracy. Finally, ask students todetermine and explain which is a better model of the earth's structure: the clay cross-