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How the Earth Works: 60 Fun Activities for Exploring Volcanoes, Fossils, Earthquakes, and More
     

How the Earth Works: 60 Fun Activities for Exploring Volcanoes, Fossils, Earthquakes, and More

by Michelle O'Brien-Palmer
 

Earth science comes alive for children 6 to 9 through 60 engrossing games, activities, and experiments. Kids “core sample” a filled cupcake and discover plate tectonics by floating graham cracker continents on a molten mantle of molasses. They learn how heat changes rocks by seeing how separate ingredients disappear when they bake Rice Krispie Treats.

Overview

Earth science comes alive for children 6 to 9 through 60 engrossing games, activities, and experiments. Kids “core sample” a filled cupcake and discover plate tectonics by floating graham cracker continents on a molten mantle of molasses. They learn how heat changes rocks by seeing how separate ingredients disappear when they bake Rice Krispie Treats. More activities show what causes earthquakes and what kinds of buildings resist their force. Growing sugar and salt crystals, “fossilizing” plastic insects, and modeling a variety of volcanoes add to the learning and the fun. Eight of the activities are tasty as well as informative. Silly songs help children remember new words and concepts, and a resource section gives inexpensive sources for rocks, minerals, and fossils. All the projects have been tested in homes and schools to make sure they are safe, effective, and fun.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“These games, activities and experiments help Earth science come alive.” —Skipping Stones

“Activities reach across the curriculum, integrating music, art, mathematics, geography, history, and more to accommodate many different kinds of learners.” —Boise Family Magazine

Skipping Stones
These games, activities and experiments help Earth science come alive.
Boise Family Magazine
Activities reach across the curriculum, integrating music, art, mathematics, geography, history, and more to accommodate many different kinds of learners.
BC Parent
Earth science has never been more fun! Countless hours of educational fun..
Batails, Nikki
Any book that includes an activity involving Hostess cupcakes is all right with me.
OC Family
Children's Literature
Not just any earth science book, this collection of more than sixty do-it-yourself experiments and projects will bring earth science to life for budding geologists. It covers the earth's structure and plate tectonics; how rocks, minerals, and crystals are created and identified; fossils; and, earthquakes and volcanoes. Multi-faceted, the book offers opportunities for using language arts, music, and even history to help expand a child's understanding of earth science. Each section includes a glossary of key terms, a summary of basic facts, and numerous activities to demonstrate the scientific principles at work. The section about rocks and minerals includes a trivia game, and the concept of how heat can change rocks is shown by watching how ingredients in cookie dough disappear during the baking process. Other experiments demonstrate how salt forms and how sugar crystals grow. In this easy-to-use and lively book, earth science becomes tangible and accessible to all students. 2002, Chicago Review Press, Patterson

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781556524424
Publisher:
Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
04/01/2002
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
9.50(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.42(d)
Age Range:
7 - 9 Years

Read an Excerpt

How the Earth Works

60 Fun Activities for Exploring Volcanoes, Fossils, Earthquakes, and More


By Michelle O'Brien - Palmer

Chicago Review Press Incorporated

Copyright © 2002 Michelle O'Brien-Palmer
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-56976-724-5



CHAPTER 1

How Earth Is Put Together


How Earth Is Put Together


Earth has four layers inside to out.
Traveling in space, it spins about.
The inner core's a solid metal ball
Known as the center of the earth to all.

The outer core is layer number two.
It's liquid iron and nickel all through.
A mantle of rock is layer three.
Crust forms the surface for land and sea.

Earth is a puzzle of 13 plates,
Slowly moving as they meet their mates.
Some collide, some slide, some let lava through
As they float beneath both me and you.

Long ago the continents were all in one.
Their constant movement is never done.
Seven continents slowly move around
On the floating plates to form the ground.

Sung to "I'm a Little Teapot"
Rocks and Shocks:
Singable Science Songs, ©2001


In How Earth Is Put Together you will find

Wonderful Words from How Earth Is Put Together, on page 8.

My Earth Journal can be found on page 3.


Dynamic Earth

Explore how Earth is put together on page 9.

1. Best Guess — Earth Trivia Cards

How much do you know about Earth? Test your knowledge and learn some interesting Earth facts on page 10.

2. Earth's Inside — Like an Egg?

What does Earth have in common with a hard-boiled egg? Compare the two on page 14.

3. Spin Your Earth

Color the layers inside Earth and spin your world, page 16.

4. A Jarful of Layers

To create a jar model of Earth's layers, follow the recipe on page 18.

5. Solid and Liquid — Like the Mantle

Is it possible for a substance to be both solid and liquid at the same time? Make your own semisolid mixture, page 20, and feel for yourself.

6. Core Sampling Cupcake

Have you ever wondered how geologists learn what is inside Earth? Take a cupcake core sample, page 22, to learn how it's done.

7. Slow-Floating Plates

Watch your graham cracker plates collide, slide, and glide into each other just like Earth's plates, following the directions on page 24.

8. Make a Model — Earth's Crust

Make a model of Earth's crust inside a plastic food container. You'll need a package of Jell-O with the Jigglers recipe on it, pie dough, and a little bit of frosting to make the cool model on page 26.

9. From One to Seven — Amazing Continents

Break apart your own continents and then put the puzzle back together again, page 28.

10. Baking Mountains and Valleys

How does a baked apple resemble Earth? Bake your own apple and watch how it changes, page 30.

11. Fold-a-Mountain

Flip to page 32 and fold a towel mountain to learn how many magnificent mountains are formed.

12. Fold, Dome, Block, and Volcano

Mold four different types of mountains, page 34.

13. Match Up — What's That Continent?

Can you name all the continents? Test your knowledge as you try to make a bingo on page 37.

Wonderful Words from How Earth Is Put Together


Block Mountains

Block mountains are formed when pressure from deep inside Earth lifts a block of land up from between cracks (faults) in Earth's crust.


Continents

Today's continents are seven huge areas of land that slowly move on top of Earth's plates. They are Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.


Crust

This is the thin layer of rock that covers Earth's outer surface. Continental crust is the thickest part of Earth's crust. Oceanic crust is the thinnest part of the crust. The outer portion of Earth's crust is always changing. The bottom of the crust is very hot.


Dome Mountains

Dome mountains are formed when hot volcanic magma rises from deep inside Earth, forcing the crust into a dome shape.


Fold Mountains

Fold mountains are formed when the rock between two of Earth's plates folds upward as the plates push against each other.


Geology

Geology is the study of what Earth is made of and how its structure changes over time.


Inner Core

The inner core is a very hot solid metal ball found at Earth's center. Some scientists believe that the inner core is made of iron and nickel.


Mantle

The mantle is a very thick layer of rock found right under Earth's crust. It is made of solid rock at the top and melted rock at the bottom, where it meets Earth's outer core.


Mountains

Mountains are areas of Earth's crust that are at least two thousand feet above sea level. Mountains cover one-fourth of Earth's crust.


Outer Core

This is a layer of hot liquid iron and nickel found right beneath Earth's mantle and above the inner core.


Plates

Pieces of Earth's crust that fit together. The plates move slowly as they float on top of Earth's mantle.


Solar System

A group of nine planets, including Earth, that travel around the Sun.


Volcanic Mountains

These are cone-shaped mountains that form as magma, rocks, ash, and gases build up around an eruption.


Dynamic Earth

What should I know about Earth?

* Earth is one of nine planets in our solar system. It travels through space on its journey around the Sun. The Sun is not a planet; it's a star. We can feel its heat and light on Earth.

* Scientists believe that Earth was formed at least 4.5 billion years ago. It weighs approximately 13.2 septillion pounds, which equals 6.6 sextillion tons. Earth has four layers. Its center, the inner core, is a fiery hot ball of solid metal. Around the inner core is the thicker outer core, made of very hot liquid iron and nickel. The mantle is Earth's thickest layer, made of hot melted rock near the outer core and hot solid rock near Earth's crust. The crust is Earth's top, or surface, layer. Made of lighter rock, the crust is the thinnest layer of Earth.

* Earth's crust is like a huge puzzle. It is divided into 13 pieces, called plates. The plates actually float on top of Earth's mantle. They move very slowly, carrying the land and ocean floor with them. The large areas of land carried by the plates are called continents. About 200 million years ago, only one continent existed. Scientists call this continent Pangaea, which means "all Earth." Pangaea broke apart to form the seven continents that exist today. Most of Earth is covered in water. The continents cover just over one-quarter of Earth's surface. On which continent do you live?

* Mountains are made out of masses of rocks. Scientists define a mountain as land that is at least two thousand feet above sea level. About one-quarter of Earth's crust is covered in mountains. Groups of mountains are called mountain ranges. Scientists have hypothesized that some mountains, ocean floors, and valleys were formed millions of years ago as Earth cooled.

* Geologists are scientists who study Earth to learn more about how it's put together and its history. They study rocks, mountains, volcanoes, and fossils to better understand our Earth.


1 Bes Guess — Earth Trivia Cards


Did you know?

Scientists believe that Earth was formed at least 4.5 billion years ago.


You will need

2 sheets (8 × 11 inches) light-colored card stock
Earth Trivia Card Fronts, page 12, copied onto 1 sheet of card stock
Earth Trivia Card Backs, page 13, copied onto 1 sheet of card stock
Scissors
Glue
Partner
Rubber band


What do you think?

If I try to guess the answers for the Earth Trivia questions, I will guess__out of 4 correctly.


Now you are ready to

1. Cut out the 16 Earth Trivia cards from both sheets of card stock.

2. Match the question fronts to their answer backs. Glue the matching card pieces together, back-to-back. Laminate the cards if you like.

3. Place the cards with the question side up.

4. Ask your partner to give a best-guess answer to the first four questions. Once a question is answered, check the back of the card to see if it was answered correctly. How well did your partner guess?

5. Next, it is your turn to guess the answers to questions 5 through 8. How well did you guess?

6. When you are finished, wrap a rubber band around the cards to keep them together.


2 Earth's Inside — Like an Egg?


Did you know?

Earth has four basic layers. Its inner core is a very hot solid ball of metal. The thick outer core is made of hot liquid iron and nickel. The mantle layer has hot melted rock near the outer core layer and very hot solid rock just below Earth's crust. The crust is made of lighter rock.


You will need

Cold hard-boiled egg with shell on, in a resealable plastic bag
Adult helper
Plastic cutting board
Knife
Refrigerator or small ice chest


What do you think?

If I look at the inside of a hard-boiled egg, it (will) or (won't) have layers.


Now you are ready to

1. Take the hard-boiled egg out of the resealable plastic bag and place it on a plastic cutting board. Ask an adult to cut the egg in half crosswise.

2. Look at the egg. Do you see layers inside? What are they?

3. The yolk of the egg is like the inner and outer cores of Earth. The white of the egg is like Earth's mantle, and the eggshell is like Earth's crust.

4. Place the egg back in its resealable bag and put it in the refrigerator.


Brain exercise

When I looked at the inside of the hard-boiled egg, it reminded me of ...


3 Spin Your Earth


Did you know?

Earth's inner core and outer core added together are thicker (approximately 2,200 miles thick) than the mantle and the crust added together.


You will need

Earth Spinner Design, page 17, copied onto card stock
Scissors
Crayons, markers, or colored pencils
Pushpin
Bulletin board


Now you are ready to

1. Cut out the Earth Spinner Design.

2. Color each layer of Earth in a different color.

3. Draw people, mountains, oceans, or other things you might find on Earth's crust.

4. Carefully place the pushpin through the very center of Earth as you position it on the bulletin board. Leave enough room between the bulletin board and the plastic head of the pin so that your Earth will spin.

5. Slowly spin your Earth, similar to the way it spins in space.


4 A Jarful of Layers


You will need

Adult helper
Microwave
Small bag of chocolate chips
16-ounce glass measuring cup
Measuring cup holding 1/8 cup water
Metal butter knife
2 oven mitts
Clear, wide-mouthed glass jar or hard plastic container, with lid
Soap and water to wash utensils
Small bag of Red Hots candies
Small plastic container holding 5 Oreo or other creamfilled chocolate cookies
whirled in a blender with a handful of mixed dark chocolate and white chocolate
chips
Small piece of waxed paper cut to fit the jar bottom
Small plastic container holding 10 crushed Wheat Thins or other crackers


Now you are ready to

1. Ask an adult to use the microwave to melt enough chocolate chips in the glass measuring cup to cover the jar bottom. Chocolate burns easily, so watch the cooking closely. Add a drop or two of water if you need to make the chocolate more liquid. Stir with the metal knife.

2. With an adult's assistance and using oven mitts, carefully pour the melted chocolate into the jar. Let it cool until it is solid. The chocolate in your jar will represent Earth's inner core. Wash the glass measuring cup and the knife.

3. Ask an adult to melt enough Red Hots in the glass measuring cup to form another layer in the jar. Stir with the knife, adding a few drops of water if necessary. Ask the adult to pour the melted Red Hots over the chocolate in your jar. Can you smell the Red Hots' odor? The melted Red Hots release their smell as an invisible gas. Let the melted Red Hots cool until solid. This represents Earth's liquid outer core.

4. Pour the crushed cookie and chocolate chip mixture into the jar. This will be your mantle layer.

5. Place the waxed paper flat inside the jar on top of the cookie layer.

6. Pour enough crushed crackers on top of the waxed paper to represent Earth's crust.

7. Place the lid on your jar. Display it in a special place where you can tell others about Earth's layers.


5 Solid and Liquid — Like the Mantle


Did you know?

Earth's mantle is liquid near the hot outer core and solid near the crust.


You will need

1 tablespoon cornstarch in a small resealable plastic bag
2 teaspoons plus 2 drops of water, colored with 2 drops of red food coloring
Refrigerator


What do you think?

If I make a cornstarch mixture, it (will) or (won't) be both solid and liquid like Earth's mantle.

Now you are ready to

1. Slowly add the water to the cornstarch inside the plastic bag. Mix by sealing the bag and squeezing it. When the water and cornstarch are combined, take out the mixture and knead it with your hands. The mixture should form into a ball when you knead it and yet crumble into your hands when left alone.

2. Play with the mixture. In its solid form, it feels dry and crumbles easily. This is because it is cool.

3. As you warm up the mixture in your hands, what happens? How is this similar to what you know about Earth's mantle?

4. When you are finished, seal the bag and place it in the refrigerator.


Brain exercise

When I held the cornstarch mixture, I thought ...


6 Core Sampling Cupcake


Did you know?

When geologists want to learn information about the inside of Earth, they take a core sample.


You will need

Hostess Cupcake or other filled cake
Small paper plate
Paper towel tube
Small garbage bag


What do you think?

If I take a core sample of a cupcake, it (will) or (won't) have layers inside.


Now you are ready to

1. Place the cupcake in the center of the paper plate. What do you predict is inside the cupcake? What clues does the outside of the cupcake give you?

2. Carefully place one end of the paper towel tube in the center of the cupcake. Hold the tube firmly as you twist it into the cupcake, pushing all the way down to the paper plate.

3. Slowly pull up on the paper towel tube. The core sample should easily fall out of the tube. If it doesn't, you may need to blow into the tube.

4. Place the outside pieces of the cupcake in the garbage bag.

5. How is the core of your cupcake similar to or different from what you predicted? Leave your cupcake core sample on display.


Brain exercise

When I looked at the core sample of the cupcake, I thought ...


7 Slow-Floating Plates


Did you know?

Earth's crust is made of approximately 13 slow-moving plates.

You will need

Clear plastic food container with lid (a GladWare 25-ounce container works well)
Enough molasses syrup to make a ½-inch layer in the bottom of the
container
2 whole graham crackers


What do you think?

If broken graham crackers float on top of a layer of molasses, they (will) or (won't) collide and slide together when I move the container.


Now you are ready to

1. Carefully pour enough molasses syrup into the container to make a half-inch-deep layer in the bottom.

2. Crack the first graham cracker into two or three pieces.

3. Matching the pieces, float them on the molasses in the top half of the container. Break the second cracker into two or three pieces and place the pieces on the molasses in the lower half of the container.

4. Slowly tilt the container to one side and then to the other side. Did the graham crackers collide, glide, and slide apart as they slowly floated on top of the molasses? This is similar to how Earth's slow-moving plates float on top of the hot mantle.

5. When you are finished observing the cracker plates, place the lid on the container to prevent spilling.

6. The molasses mixture should be thrown away within 24 hours.


Brain exercise

When I looked at the cracker plates moving on the molasses mantle, I saw them ...


8 Make a Model — Earth's Crust


Did you know?

The thickest part of Earth's crust is called continental crust The thinner part of the crust is called oceanic crust.


You will need

Adult helper
16-ounce package strawberry Jell-O
Clear plastic food container with lid (a 14-ounce container works well)
1¼ cups boiling water in a 16-ounce glass measuring cup
Spoon
Refrigerator
¼ of any ready-made pie crust
Hard plastic table knife
Blue and green colored icing (Betty Crocker Easy Flow
Decorating Icing works well)
Mug of hot water


Now you are ready to

1. Empty the Jell-O mix into the plastic food container. Ask an adult to stir in the boiling water. Continue stirring until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Refrigerate the mixture until it is firm.

2. When the gelatin is almost solid, mold a flat piece of pie crust big enough to fit over it, using the container lid as your guide.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from How the Earth Works by Michelle O'Brien - Palmer. Copyright © 2002 Michelle O'Brien-Palmer. Excerpted by permission of Chicago Review Press Incorporated.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Michelle O’Brien-Palmer is the author of Sense-Abilities, Healthy Me, Watch Me Grow, and several Scholastic teacher guides as well as other books. A science educator, consultant, and specialist in educational curriculum development, she lives in Seattle, Washington.

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