This cross-curricular unit about the geology of Earth contains background information, a detailed glossary, Earth facts, and 20 hands-on activities for the classroom, including a culminating project.
- explore basic principles of geology
- develop an enthusiasm for investigating landscape
- develop rational and creative thinking skills
- work co-operatively in groups
- Following directions
- The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen
- Paper and pencils for recording observations
- Access to research materials
- Design Brief reproducible (see Set Up and Prepare for details), one per group
- Mission Report reproducible (see Set Up and Prepare for details), one per group
Set Up and Prepare
Step 1: Share The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen with the class as a read-aloud or a class reading assignment. Explain to the class that they will be simulating their own trips to the center of Earth.
Step 2: Divide your students into groups of at least five students. While group members are encouraged to work together, ensure that there is at least one student in each team responsible for each crew job:
- Survey and chart the area where digging will commence
- Note any special features or formulations
- Analyze weather conditions
- Design the vehicle to carry the team officer inside Earth
- Build a prototype model
- Write operating instructions
- Plan and organize all supplies needed for the mission (including food, clothing and equipment)
- Keep the mission log
- Record any discoveries
- Record life on board the mission vehicle
- Record any discoveries
Step 3: Have each team examine a globe or map of the world and decide where they will start their mission.
Step 4: If the globe or map does not display landforms and physical features, have the groups conduct research to determine the terrain of their starting location. The landforms and other physical features at the starting point will determine the design of their vehicle, supplies needed, and other mission outcomes.
Step 5: Each team should use their imaginative, creative thinking and problem-solving skills to undertake their crew jobs. After researching and planning their mission, each team should complete the Design Brief reproducible.
Step 6: Now encourage the groups to simulate their mission to the center of Earth. Their work might include models, diaries, reports, newspaper articles, charts, scrapbooks, or photograph albums.
Step 7: At the end of the mission, each team should complete a Mission Report reproducible and prepare a presentation for the whole class that incorporates their models, diaries, reports, newspaper articles, etc.
Adapted from "The Earth," Senior Topics. Published by Ashton Scholastic in Australia.