Layers of the Earth Project

Layers of the Earth Project for kids! Create this simple model of the earth’s layers for your next science project. Our quick 3D earth layers model includes a full tutorial and video so you can make your own. If you are looking for layers of the earth project ideas, we’ve got you covered. This simple and fun model of the earths layers is the project you’ve been looking for! Print this free Layers of the Earth Diagram to go alongside your project.

Layers of the Earth Project

Learning about the layers of the earth is fun when you have hands-on activities and ideas in your classroom. This also makes a fantastic science fair project for kids to work on independently as it meets many of the traditional requirements. Your students can create a 3D model of earths layers and label each layer using a toothpick flag.

Layers of Earth Projects

With all the layers of earth project ideas out there, you might be wondering why you should choose this project! First, it’s very inexpensive and you only need one craft material: Clay! (or if you like, Play Dough). Second, this 3D earth model doesn’t require the use of styrofoam or paint! Say goodbye to struggling to cut into styrofoam and messy science projects taking over your kitchen table classroom. Third, there is just something soooo satisfying about cutting into the clay to reveal the layers inside:

Earth Layers Model

There is no need to spend a fortune on earth science models for your classroom. Your students can make their own visuals with our 3D earth layers model. Not only will they have fun doing so, but they’re sure to remember your earth science lessons much longer!

Model of the Earths Layers 3D Layers of the Earth Project

Doesn’t it look amazing inside? This project is sure to stand out at the science fair, especially when you use neon playdough or clay. If you do this as a class activity, allow the clay to dry and send your students home with their own 3D models of the earth.

3D Layers of the Earth Project

This earth science project is super simple and only requires the following materials. In fact, if you are feeling particularly crafty, you can even make your own play dough for this project using the best playdough recipe here.

Layers of the Earth Worksheets

Before we get started with our project, provide your students with some background earth science information. When learning about the layers of the earth, you’ll want to provide your student with visual representations they can use for the science project. You’ll find Label the Layers of the Earth Worksheets, printable coloring pages, diagrams, charts, activity pages, notebooking pages, 3-part nomenclature cards, science journal pages, and more! Print everything you need for your layers of the earth science project.

Layers of the Earth Project Materials List:

  • Play Dough (a variety of colors, details below)
  • Dental Floss

Step 1: Choosing Your Colors

Because we’ll be creating multiple layers of the earth, you’ll want a variety of different colors to stand for each layer. You’ll need larger amounts of clay as shown above. We mixed two colors into purple and two colors into blue. This actually created some fun variations in the crust and the water as you can see in the photos.

We recommend using the following colors:

  • Inner Core = Red or Pink
  • Outer Core = Orange
  • Mantle = Yellow
  • Crust = Brown or Purple
  • (Optional for outside aesthetic: Water = Blue, Land= Green

Step 2: Inner Core Assembly

Roll all colors of play dough in to a ball as show in the materials photo above. Keep your red dough for the center of the earth. Take your orange color and flatten it out into a pancake shape. You want to try to keep it a consistent thickness but flat enough that it will cover your (red) core.

Step 3: Outer Core Assembly

Place the red ball (inner core) into the center of the orange pancake you just made. Fold over the edges, pinching and rounding things out until you have an orange ball with a red ball in the center. You now have your inner core inside of your outer core.

Step 4: Outer Core Assembly

Repeat the previous step with the yellow. Flatten it out, then place the orange ball inside the yellow pancake, folding over the edges and rounding it out to make a ball. You now have your inner core inside your outer core inside the mantle.

Step 5: Earth Crust Assemly

Repeat the previous step with the purple (or brown crust). You can see how we’ve combined two colors (light purple and dark purple) so that we had enough clay to cover the mantle. This will add some fun color to the project.

Step 6: Water & Land

If your project is only on the layers of the earth, you can stop here! However, I think it’s fun to add some of the outside elements like water and land (continental crust) to the project. Additionally, you can adapt this project to include more detailed layers if your using this for upper-grade science projects.

Look how beautiful the two colors of blue look for our oceans!

Break up bits of green to make land and press it into your earth to represent the continents. Smooth out the edges a bit to keep things round. Again you can go for much more detail in design here if you actually need to represent the continents.

It’s looking good! If you need a visual prop for your science report, make two so you can cut one in front of your class or your science judges. (TIP: Check out this fun wedge shaped rock that was painted in layers and left at our neighborhood park. What a fun find for my kiddos!)

Step 7: Cut! Or Floss really…

When you are ready to cut into your earth model, you’ll want to get a nice sized piece of dental floss. Have a parent or teacher get a tight grip on the floss, carefully wrap around ther index fingers and pull down through the earth to make a clean cut.

Step 8: Smooth!

When you get to the bottom, you might need to adjust a little to complete the cut. Don’t worry if the cut is a little wobbly, it’s near impossible to get it perfectly straight, and you can smooth out each hemisphere very gently once it’s open.

Step 9: Label!

If you’re using this for a science project, you can use little toothpicks with labels on the top to label each layer of the earth. Consider keeping one half plain, and one half-labeled. Additionally, you can create a color-coded key on a piece of paper and present it alongside your earth model.

Or you know…..just walk around with the world in your hands.

Books & Resources to Explore:


Is your student learning about the layers of the earth? Do you need layers of the earth project ideas? This 3D model of the layers of the Earth is not only colorful and eye-catching, but it requires very little material and it’s simple for even the youngest of science students to create!

Layers of the Earth Project Ideas

Looking for more fun science projects to learn about the layers of the earth? Check out these exciting activities:

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