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Twirly Skirt, Hot Tamales and a Passable British Accent

Student Projects on Earth’s Core Out of This World


As original projects go, Megan Miller’s science unit on the Earth’s core layers takes the cake and then some.

Sophia Carnevale sewed a skirt that illustrates the layers of the Earth’s crust. The colors correspond to the materials found at each layer

“Some students did make cakes, and pizza and Rice Krispies treats,” said Miller, who teaches fifth grade at Wealthy Elementary. “We ate the Earth many times in our class.”

The district’s other elementaries do the same project. Miller admitted that’s where she got the idea. That there are virtually no restrictions on how students can demonstrate the geological attributes of the planet clearly makes it fun for them to learn.

Lucy Millwood used candy for her project: M&Ms for the crust, Hot Tamales for the magma, Jolly Ranchers for the outer core “and Nerds for the convecting mantle because they were easy to fit in there,” she explained.

Classmate Sophia Carnevale likes to sew, so she made a skirt.

Sam Putt (courtesy photo)
Sam Putt (courtesy photo)

“The inner core I did this color because it’s iron and nickel,” she said, smoothing the lightest color nearest her waistline. “And this one is magma and red because it’s hot.”

Sam Putt was more cinematic than visual. He recorded a radio show, during which he scored exclusive interviews with the Earth’s core layers. A few seconds in and you know this project’s a winner: the inner core has a haughty British accent. There’s a laugh track. And Sam starts off with a penetrating request: “So, tell us about your texture.”

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Science for Kids: the Earth’s Layers

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio or email Morgan.

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