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The Earth Bowl

Grade Level: K - 3

Discussion:

Scientists know that the earth is made of four layers: the inner core, outer core, mantle, and crust. See "Ideas for Discussion," #1. The Earth Bowl is a three dimensional, edible representation of the earth in cross section. (If time allows, have children participate in measuring the ingredients and constructing the Bowl.)

Materials:

4 oz. pkg. raspberry gelatin dessert
4 oz. pkg. lemon gelatin dessert
8 oz. pkg. black cherry gelatin dessert
4 cups boiling water (can be boiled and kept hot in thermos)
4 cups cold water
3 mixing bowls
12 graham crackers
1/2 cup melted margarine
1/4 cup granulated sugar
10" diameter clear glass bowl
(Small paper cups and spoons for after discussion)

Procedure:

Make the gelatin desserts in separate bowls and according to the directions on the side of the box. Put in refrigerator to set.

Have the children crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs. This can be done by putting the crackers in a zip-lock bag and having the children pound the bag until the crackers are in very fine crumbs.

Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted margarine and granulated sugar. Press the mixture on the bottom and along the sides of the glass bowl to form a crust. Set aside.

After two hours the gelatin will set. Spoon the black cherry into the graham cracker crust. Form it so that there is about a five inch pocket in the middle.

Next, spoon in the lemon gelatin, leaving a two inch hole. Into this center, spoon the raspberry gelatin.

Allow time for each child to take a look at the Earth Bowl and discuss its layers. Then dig in!

Important Concepts:

(1) In the Earth Bowl the graham cracker crust represents the earth's crust which is about 20 miles deep; the black cherry is the mantle (4,000 miles deep); the lemon gelatin is the outer core (2,200 miles deep); and the raspberry gelatin is the inner core (800 miles deep).

(2) Although the Earth Bowl is made of cool gelatin, the center of the earth is actually extremely hot.

(3) In the classroom the Earth Bowl took only a few hours to make; in actuality the earth took 5 billion years to form.