Science Fair Project:

Create Your Own Earth Model

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Problem:

To understand where major land masses and bodies of water are located on earth by building a model.

Materials:

  • Painter's smock
  • Newspaper sheets
  • Tape
  • Globe
  • Large Styrofoam ball
  • Blue tempera paint
  • Green tempera paint
  • Black tempera paint (or black marker)
  • Paintbrush

Procedure

  1. Cover your table with several sheets of newspaper to protect it from the tempura paint. Tape the sides of the newspaper down so it doesn't slide around.
  2. Slip a painter's smock over your clothes, so you don't end up with a new painted outfit!
  3. Put your Styrofoam ball in the center of the newspaper.
  4. Place your globe somewhere nearby so that you can look at it for guidance whenever you need to.
  5. Look at the globe and find the seven continents: Asia, North America, South America, Africa, Antarctica, Australia and Europe.
  6. Locate the four major oceans on your globe: Arctic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean.
  7. Using the north pole as a starting point, paint the seven continents onto the Styrofoam ball with green tempera paint. Try to keep it to scale (make it proportional) as best you can.
  8. Paint the rest of the Styrofoam ball with the blue tempera paint. Other than the seven continents, the earth is filled with water.
  9. Set your Styrofoam ball aside to dry. This may take a few hours, so you might want to plan on finishing the project the next day.
  10. Paint the names of the four oceans and seven continents on the Styrofoam ball with black tempera paint, using the non-brush end of the paintbrush to write with. If using paint is too tricky, write the names of the oceans and continents with a black marker.
  11. Set your earth model aside to dry one last time.

Results:

Your child will be able to see more clearly which oceans border which continents. They'll notice how far one continent is away from another, and where the north and south poles are in relation to the land masses.

Why?

Many children learn best by participating in hands-on activities. Making a model of the earth is a great project for helping your kid begin to understand and develop an appreciation of geography. Don't stop at using a Styrofoam ball to create a model earth. Try creating a clay earth, paper mache earth, or even an old volleyball earth! Recycled materials make for excellent science fair materials.

Once your child learns all of the major oceans and continents, delve deeper into geography by having him paint the names of the countries on the model earth, as well as the names of some of the larger bodies of water. Or, keep the science going by building out the rest of the solar system; it's never too early to start space exploration!

Author: AliciaBodine
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