From the Crust to the Core: Second Graders Learn About the Inside of the Earth
What does an onion have to do with geology?
On a recent Wednesday, Ms. Steinberg compared the layers of the Earth to the layers of an onion as she gathered second graders for a culture lesson. The inside of the earth is not all the same, she explained. There are layers—each composed of a different material—that become progressively hotter the closer you move to the center of the sphere.
Ms. Steinberg started the introduction to the different layers of the earth by peeling off the onion’s dry skin, which represented the crust, the earth’s most outer layer.
Then, she cut the onion in half, revealing its many layers. Next, the top layer of the onion was popped off to represent the first layer under the crust, the mantle. Under the mantle are more layers, represented by the center of the onion, which was separated into two more parts, the outer and inner core. Each part of the onion was stamped in colored paint to show the difference in circumference.
After differentiating the layers, the students also learned about the composition of the crust, which includes the lithosphere (land), the hydrosphere (water), and atmosphere (sky). Ms Steinberg, additionally, shared some amazing details about the temperatures and depths of each of the different layers. For example, the mantle is 2,800 degrees compared to the the core which is 5100 degrees! This presentation opened the doors to many more conversations about the composition of the earth, which will be happening in upcoming classes.