Teaching sequence

Lesson objective

In this lesson students will examine the internal structure of the Earth.


Display these images:

The San Andreas Fault, California
Whakaari (White Island), New Zealand
Quake line near Meckering, Western Australia.
Lava flowing from Mount Etna, Sicily


Ask the students to brainstorm what they know about the images shown. What events do the images show?

What do they know about similar recent events?


  1. Explain to students that in order to understand events such as volcanoes and earthquakes, geoscientists need to understand the structure of the Earth.
  2. Ask the students to suggest ways scientists could obtain information about the structure of the Earth.
  3. Conduct the activity From clay balls to the structure of the Earth to simulate how scientists could obtain information using indirect evidence.
  4. Have students use the learning object Exploring Earth's structure: Earth probe to examine the interior structure of the Earth. Ask them to draw an annotated diagram of the Earth including information about each layer.


Watch the video Earth’s internal structure, Melbourne Museum.

Discuss any new ideas the video introduces.