Science Happenings

December 3rd, 2015

Earth's Interior

I hope everyone is having a great week! In science class we are in the midst of our third unit, which covers the Earth's interior.

We started the unit by making models of what we think the Earth's interior looks like. We got really creative making drawings as well as construction paper and 3-D models. This got us thinking about what we know about the inside of the Earth. The following two class periods were spent watching the History Channel's film called "How the Earth was Made." The movie exposed us to the layers of the Earth and many of our upcoming units, including plate tectonics and earthquakes. We then spent a class period examining how scientists determine what is inside of the Earth. We discussed indirect observations after using our five senses to try to figure out what was inside a wrapped present. The final part of this class was spent talking about what theories are through using our ABCD multiple choice cards. At the same time, we reviewed early Earth theories.

Next, we began talking about the inner and outer core. We spent a period discovering important facts, including their volumes, thicknesses, compositions, phases of matter, and temperatures. We also compared these two layers to the liquid layer lab using ABCD cards. We loved getting to answer multiple choice questions with them! At the end of the period, we started using a tic-tac-toe board to decide on fun activities we wanted to work on throughout the unit.

After learning about the inner and outer core, we started the next class comparing the two. Once we did so, we began to explore the mantle. During this period, we watched a lava lamp at work and drew convection currents. At the end of class, we got to create our very own lava lamps using oil, water, food coloring, and Alkaseltzer. We were so excited about the lab and loved seeing it mimic what happens during convection! (Check out a picture below!) The following two class periods were spent doing a lab on convection. This lab really demonstrated what is happening in the mantle since we had a heat source!

The final lab of the unit is on plasticity. We will get to create and play with oobleck, which is a non-Newtonian fluid that can behave like a solid or liquid. This lab will help us understand how the mantle is plastic.

The final lesson of the unit will be on the crust. Here, we will explore the properties of the crust as well as the differences and similarities between oceanic and continental crust. The following day will be spent as a review period for the test. The test will be held on Thursday, December 10th.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns! I will be available for extra help the week of the test.

Rachel Goldberg