Make a fan with Earth’s layers

a photo of the Earth fan described in this activity

So Much Beneath the Surface

We spend pretty much all our time on Earth’s crust. It’s where all the land and oceans are. But below the crust, there’s a lot going on.

The crust is a lot like the skin on an apple. It doesn’t go very deep. But it’s still deeper than you could ever dig. It’s about 19 miles (30 km) deep on average on land. At the bottom of the ocean, the crust is still about 3 miles (5 km) deep.

Below the crust is Earth’s biggest layer, the mantle. It’s a hot soup of molten rock. The mantle goes 1,800 miles (2,900 km) deep. Below the mantle is the outer core; it’s made of liquid iron and nickel. At the center of Earth is the inner core. It’s a solid center made of iron and nickel metals.

a diagram of the layers of Earth. The crust is the outer edge. Inside that is the mantle, outer core, and inner core.

The colors in this diagram are the same colors used in the Earth Fan worksheet below. Remember what each color represents as you assemble and use your fan.



Be a Fan of Earth and Make an Earth Fan!

To remember that Earth is much more than just the surface we see every day, make this Earth layer fan.


What You'll Need

a photo of the supplies necessary for this activity: three printouts, jumbo popsicle sticks, scissors, and a glue stick

What To Do


  1. Print three copies of the Earth Fan worksheet.


  2. Cut out the three square shapes.


  3. a photo of the 3 shapes cut out next to scissors on a table

  4. Fold along the first dotted line.


  5. a photo showing hands making the first fold

  6. Flip over the paper and fold to the next dotted line.


  7. a photo of the paper turned over so the white side is facing up, and hands making the second fan fold

  8. Keep folding, turning the paper over after each fold, until you’ve folded a fan.


  9. a close up of the fan shape that results after 1 sheet is folded

  10. Fold the fan in half.


  11. a photo of the fan folded in half

  12. Glue the inside of the fold together to create a small fan section.


  13. a photo of a glue stick being applied to the inside of the fan fold

    the fan is glued together, making a pie piece shape or wedge

  14. Repeat steps three through seven with the other two printouts. Now you have three small fans.


  15. a photo of the three fan wedges all folded and glued

  16. Glue the first section to your popsicle stick with the fold of the fan touching the top of the popsicle stick.


  17. a photo of the first fan wedge glued to a popsicle stick

  18. Glue the next fan section on top. Make sure the fan folds point the same direction.


  19. a photo of the second wedge being glued to the first wedge

  20. Glue the last fan section on top.


  21. a photo of all three wedges being glued together and attached to one popsicle stick

  22. Glue the other popsicle stick on top. Press down to get a good seal.


  23. a photo of the second popsicle stick being glued on top of the compressed fan

    a photo of hands squeezing the compressed fan together to allow the glue to dry

  24. Let the glue dry for a few minutes.


  25. Open your fan and cool yourself off.


a finished, unfurled fan

Remember what the colors represent:

The inner core is yellow.
The outer core is red.
The mantle is orange and tan.
The crust is a thin brown line.



Download a PDF of this activity.

article last updated September 1, 2015
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