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Modeling Earth’s Mantle

Time Frame:
1 class period that runs 60 minutes.

Group Size:


In this lab students make a fluid that models Earth’s mantle made of rocks that are solid yet can flow like a liquid.

Main Curriculum Tie:
Science - Earth Science
Standard 2 Objective 1

Evaluate the source of Earth's internal heat and the evidence of Earth's internal structure.


  • 4 Tablespoons of cornstarch in a cup
  • 20 ml water
  • 3 drops food coloring
  • plastic fork
  • ice cubes in a Styrofoam cup
  • hot water in Styrofoam cups
  • student worksheet (attached)


Instructional Procedures:
All of these procedures are repeated on the student worksheet.

  1. Start by measuring 20 ml of water into a graduated cylinder. Add three drops of the color of your choice to the water. You must add the food coloring; it adds both extra water as well as fabulously awesome color to you mantle magma. Return food coloring to lab prep table.
  2. Pour the water and color mixture on top of the cornstarch and mix thoroughly with a fork. If you had the right amount of water it will be tough to stir. Call your teacher over to check your mixture before proceeding with the testing.
  3. Answer the questions below.
  4. Waste disposal- rinse out cup, in sink, with lots of running water and return cup to lab prep area.

Lesson Design by Jordan School District Teachers and Staff.

Utah LessonPlans

Created Date :
Nov 05 2014 08:08 AM