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Models of Earth

Main Core Tie

SEEd - Grade 7
Strand 7.2: Changes to Earth over time 7.2.4

Time Frame

1 class periods of 45 minutes each

Group Size

Small Groups


Utah LessonPlans


Students will probe a clay ball to determine the interior. This is what learning about the center of the Earth is like. Students will analyze several incorrect models and the correct model.


  • clay balls
  • one item in the center of each ball (marble, paperclip, dice, penny)
  • skewer sticks or toothpicks (depending on the size of Earth)
  • worksheet.

Background for Teachers

Scientists have not been to the center of the Earth. They use earthquakes to help them determine what the center is like.

Instructional Procedures

  1. Prepare a clay ball with one item in the center of the ball. Give the ball and 5-10 skewers to each group. Carefully probe the ball and try to determine what is at the center of the earth. After all have guessed and sketched what is at the center have them open the ball and see if they are correct. Have one group of each type of center (marble) present to the class why they thought (evidence) that the marble was that the center.
  2. Talk about the models that we have for the earth. Scientists have changed over time their models.
  3. Hand out worksheet and have the students work in groups to find evidence for and against each of the models.

Assessment Plan

Scoring Rubric:
1. Complete, best effort, used equipment correctly…………4
2. Complete, best effort, ……..…………...3
3. Partially complete and lacking effort………………………..2
4. Started lab and did not complete……………………1


Lesson Design by Jordan School District Teachers and Staff.

Created: 10/01/2014
Updated: 02/04/2018