Resource Image Plate Tectonics: Layered Earth
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Type of Resource: Science Object
Average Rating: Rating
 based on 15 reviews
Publication Title: None
Grade Level: Elementary School, High School, Middle School


Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object is the first of five Science Objects in the Plate Tectonics SciPack. It explores the characteristics of the various layers of the Earth, using the way waves travel through the different layers to illustrate the differences in each layer. The interior of the earth is hot, under high pressure from gravitational pull, and more dense than its rocky outer crust. The earth is layered with a relatively thin crust; hot, deformable mantle; liquid outer core; and solid, metallic, and dense inner core.

Ideas For Use


Plate Tectonics and need ideas right away!
Posted in Earth and Space Science by Dorothy Ginnett on Mon Apr 09, 2012 6:04 PM

Hi David - If you need any quick background on Plate Tectonics there are some excellent Science Objects (free) avail...
Earthquake and Tsunami lessons
Posted in Earth and Space Science by Arlene Jurewicz Leighton on Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:49 PM

[color=blue]I just took a temp position teaching Integrated Physical Science until the end of the year. We are going to ...

Additional Info

Science Discipline: (mouse over for full classification)
Plate tectonics
Intended User Role:Elementary-Level Educator, High-School Educator, Middle-Level Educator, Teacher
Educational Issues:Inquiry learning, Learning theory, Professional development, Teacher content knowledge


Resource Format:
Size: KB
Installation Remarks:

National Standards Correlation

This resource has 5 correlations with the National Standards.  

This resource has 5 correlations with the National Standards.  

  • Earth Science
    • Structure of the earth system
      • The solid earth is layered with a lithosphere; hot, convecting mantle; and dense, metallic core. (5-8)
      • Major geological events, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain building, result from the motions of lithospheric plates. (5-8)
  • Process Standards for Professional Development
    • Research-Based
      • Address teachers' needs as learners and build on their current knowledge of science content, teaching, and learning. (NSES)
    • Design
      • Introduce teachers to scientific literature, media, and technological resources that expand their science knowledge and their ability to access further knowledge. (NSES)
    • Learning
      • Build on the teacher's current science understanding, ability, and attitudes. (NSES)

State Standards Correlation

Use the form below to view which of your state standards this resource addresses.

User Reviews

Earth's Layers
  Robin Willig (Rye Brook, NY) on March 15, 2015
  Good review of the different characteristics of each of Earth's layers and how seismic wave observations helped scientists indirectly observe these characteristics.

I Love Science Objects!
  Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA) on September 3, 2014
  I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Plate Tectonics: Layered Earth Science Object will help me re-learn, refresh, or learn for the first time some critical science concepts I will have to know to obtain my Science Educator credentials. I appreciate that I can complete them at my own pace, and that, if used as park of a SciPack, I have access to a content expert to go to for help. The NSTA Learning Center Science Objects are very beneficial! Not only will they enrich my teaching, the knowledge will enrich my life.

Earth Layers
  Aoko H (Chicago, IL) on March 9, 2014
  This resource is great for any teacher needing help in linking concepts. It breaks down seismic wave theory and relates it well to earth layers. It makes the physical science aspects of plate tectonics easy to understand and gives good analogies.

The Layered Earth
  James on April 24, 2013
  This scipac provides a number of interactive animations and good explanations on the discovery of the Earths Interior.

well done
  Jodi on January 2, 2013
  i've done several science objects, and this series is particularly well designed. Both the explorations and explanations are thoughtful and the assessments hit the key ideas.

From the crust to the core!
  Lorrie Armfield (Laurel, MD) on December 26, 2011
  In analyzing the layers of the Earth, this interactive science object takes you on a magnificent journey from the Lithosphere (outermost layer) which is cold, solid and rigid, to the Asthenosphere (the layer just below the lithosphere) which is hot and can be deformed. Great resource.

Plate Tectonics:Layered Earth
  James Arimond (Sarasota, FL) on October 10, 2011
  The interactive elements were simple but effective. The information is useful.

Great Resource
  LeRoy A on December 29, 2010
  I really liked the headlinges used to create interest in Plate Tectonics. This is a great way to get Kids interested in Plate tectonics

Plate Tectonics
  Karla Garza (Penitas, Texas) on May 6, 2009
  I really like the information and learned about the layers of the earth and earthquakes.

Plate Tectonics
  harriett (tazewell, VA) on November 12, 2007
  very good

Earth Layers
  Tory Addison on November 25, 2013
  Good to help explain Earth's Waves

Great Refresher
  Stephen Kirsche (St. Johns, FL) on April 13, 2013
  This provided a nice overview of the topic. It flowed logically, though it might be a bit quick if it is a new topic for you.

  kristin mancusi-johnson on February 3, 2011
  Love the interactives on this one! I am always looking for new ways to show how the plates move and the reactions of the plates moving for my students. These were so helpful and explained in a way that makes it easy for my students to understand.

Well written and concise
  Kendra Young (Lake Stevens, WA) on November 22, 2010
  This science object is ideal for middle school teachers who need to understand these concepts in order to teach them. P, S, and L waves were briefly discussed but there was no mention of Raleigh waves or how epicenters are located - which is very important to understanding the contribution seismology has made to the model of our planet. For this reason, I don't think this science object covers enough information for high school educators. I did enjoy the 'voice' of the text as well as the graphics and interactives.

layered earth
  Mitchell Greenberg on August 6, 2013
  Scan through this material and pick and choose what is applicable. There is good info here, and I can see showing some of this to my class.