Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Layers of the Earth: Edible Models

It looks like the Earth, right? Wait, don't answer that. And no smart answers as to what it does look like... please...

Okay, so not the most beautiful model ever, but stick with me on this one. It's a great model for younger students (4th grade, or so), who are beginning to learn about the layers of the Earth, as it emphasizes the most basic features.

First, a quick review of the layers of the Earth:
The core is very hot. And, it's under so much pressure that the inner core (this activity doesn't differentiate between the inner and outer core) is actually solid.

The mantle is large. And it's semi-soft - the crust floats on the mantle, moving about over time.

The crust is a very thin, hard layer.

Now we need some edible materials to represent each layer:

I present to you:
A cinnamon candy (some people call them red hots - they're little, red, hard candies, sometimes found in the candy aisle, sometimes found with cake decorating supplies) = hot, hard, small

A marshmallow = large, squishy

Magic Shell ice cream topping* = thin, crunchy

To create your model:
Push a cinnamon candy into the center of the marshmallow. Then, pour a small amount of Magic Shell over the marshmallow. Pop the whole thing into the freezer for a few minutes, to harden the shell/crust. Then, enjoy!

*In the past, I tried meling chocolate chips and using those to coat the marshmallows. It worked okay, but it was more work to keep them melted (I used my slow cooker) and they never do harden into a crust. I think the Magic Shell works pretty well, though you do need to be able to refrigerate or freeze your models for a few minutes, which might be a problem for some. Nothing's pefect... go with what works for you!

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