The Layers of the Earth

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11832

Have you ever walked along the ground and wondered what's beneath your feet, besides bugs and worms and things? Let's take a look way, way beneath the soil to find melted rock and the center of Earth!


Earth Science

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


When you stand outside on the soil you are standing on a layer of the Earth. Did you know the Earth has four layers? It's like a cake, but also like a pie!

Pretend you are going to the beach.

Your toes are in the sand. Now you are in the forest, and your hiking boots are on the soft brown soil. You hiked all the way to the top of a rocky mountain. Your boots are on top of the rocks. All along your imaginary adventure, you were exploring the crust of the earth. The crust is the top layer of the Earth. See how the Earth has layers like a cake and a crust like a pie?

Peek out your learning space window. What does the crust look like around your learning space? Share your answer with your parent or teacher.

The Earth's crust is the thinnest layer of the Earth. It can be anywhere from a few feet thick to over forty miles thick! There are two types of crust:

  1. Continental crust makes up all the land above water.
  2. Oceanic crust is the surface found at the bottom of the ocean floor.

Beneath the crust is the mantle. The mantle is the largest layer of the Earth. It can be anywhere from four hundred miles to over one thousand miles beneath the surface of the Earth! The mantle is divided into two parts:

  1. The upper mantle is made out of solid and liquid rock. It can be anywhere from two thousand degrees Fahrenheit to five thousand degrees Fahrenheit!
  2. The mantle is beneath the upper mantle. This layer is around five thousand degrees Fahrenheit! This layer is made up of solid rock.

Take a look at the picture below. This picture shows you all the layers of the Earth. So far, you learned about the crust, upper mantle, and mantle. The upper mantle and the mantle are both considered to be the same layer. Point and name the crust, upper mantle, and mantle on the picture below:

Earth cross section

Beneath the mantle is the outer core. It is found over three thousand miles beneath the Earth's surface. The outer core can be anywhere from seven thousand to over ten thousand degrees Fahrenheit! This layer is made up of liquid rock, like iron and nickel. The liquid outer core flows around the center of the Earth. This circular flow creates the Earth's magnetic field.

The hottest layer of the Earth is the inner core. The inner core's temperature ranges from nine thousand degrees Fahrenheit to almost eleven thousand degrees Fahrenheit! The inner core is made up of solid iron and nickel. This layer of the Earth is shaped like a ball. The core stays solid because of the pressure surrounding it. If it did not have so much pressure, the iron and nickel would melt into a liquid.

Show your parent or teacher the outer core and the inner core on the picture above.

Great job! You found the outer and inner core. You learned about the different layers of the Earth. In the Got It? section, you will dig a little deeper and explore the layers of the Earth.

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