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The Layered Earth Geology


For Middle School Grades 5-8
Layered Earth is a new, interactive geology curriculum from the makers of Starry Night Education.
Layered Earth integrates your Earth Science curriculum with the latest technology to prepare your students for the skills they'll need in the 21st Century. In a dynamic environment, through step-by-step computer explorations, activities and resources, you'll guide your students through a geological journey that will rock their world.
Enable your students to envision Earth as a whole system. Show them tectonic plate boundaries, mountain ranges, volcanoes, earthquakes, mineral resources and biomes. Dive into the Earth's core, slice open a volcano or watch rocks transform. They'll even witness the changing shapes of Earth's major landmasses throughout history!
Manipulating models is an effective way to investigate scientific ideas, especially when dealing with things that are very slow, fast, large or small. With Layered Earth, you'll give your students a virtual model of Earth that can be measured, manipulated and visualized, to build a deeper understanding of how the Earth system works.
Layered Earth includes our interactive Earth Science software and Teachers' Guide with full curricular support.
For multi-seat, school or other volume licenses contact our education sales representative, or call 1-877-290-8256

Topics Covered:

  • The Solid Earth
    • Earth as a System
    • Earth's Layered Structure
    • Oceans and Continents
    The Solid Earth
  • Plate Tectonics
    • Continental Drift
    • Seafloor Spreading and Paleomagnetism
    • The Theory of Plate Tectonics
    Plate Tectonics
  • Minerals and Rocks
    • Minerals - Building Blocks of Rocks
    • The Rock Cycle
    • Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic Rocks
    • Weathering and Soil Formation
    Minerals and Rocks
  • Shaping the Earth
    • Shaping the Earth's Surface
    • Mass Movement
    • Water and Ice Landforms
    • Wind Landforms
    Shaping the Earth
  • Earthquakes
    • Earthquakes and Faults
    • Earthquakes and Waves
    • The Strength of Earthquakes
    • Seismic Waves and the Earth's Interior
    • Living with Earthquakes
  • Volcanoes
    • Formation of Volcanoes
    • Types of Volcanoes
    • Living with Volcanoes
  • Geologic Time
    • Age of the Earth
    • The Geologic Timescale
    • Catastrophic Events and Mass Extinction
    • Earth's Future
    Geologic Time
Earth's Outer Shell
Looking at Earth from space we seem to observe a solid, continuous and unbroken outer shell.
But if you were able to travel back or forward in time millions of years, you would see the continents
in motion, drifting apart, colliding, and changing shape - Lesson B3.
Earth's Interior and Plate Motion
The method of heat transfer known as convection
is believed to be the fundamental process
underlying the movement of plates - Lesson B3-B5
Earthquakes and Plates
Although individual earthquakes can appear almost anywhere it is clear that there is a distinct pattern.
The vast majority of earthquakes occur on or near the edges of the Earth's tectonic plates.
This is a major clue in determining exactly what causes earthquakes - Lesson E1.
Volcanoes and Plates
There is a clear link between many of the volcanoes and plate boundaries.
The volcanoes around the rim of the Pacific all appear to be linked to plate boundaries - Lesson F1
Most Dangerous Volcano in the U.S.
The most dangerous volcano in the U.S. is considered to be Mt. Rainier in the state of Washington.
This is because of its proximity to heavily populated areas like Seattle and Tacoma, and because of its huge mantle of ice - Lesson F1-1
Rock Cycle
The rock cycle is an important part of the Earth system. It shows how igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks are continuously re-formed over time.
Each of the rock types are linked to the others through important and interconnected processes - Lesson C2.
Continental Drift - Fossil Evidence
Identical 270-million-year-old fossil bands of an extinct reptile known as Mesosaurus had been found in eastern South America and in western Africa.
This was only possible if South America and Africa had been joined at one time. Numerous other discoveries of corresponding fossil bands for extinct
life-forms on different continents further supported this theory - Lesson B1.
Dinosaur Extinction
The Mesozoic Era came to a close 65.5 million years ago with a major extinction that resulted
in the disappearance of approximately half of the world’s species, including all dinosaurs - Lesson G2.

Middle School Geology

The Educational Advantage for Teaching Earth Science & Geology in Middle School/High School.


The Layered Earth is a complete teaching solution for Earth Science. It provides a student-focused, rich multi-media environment that includes lessons, interactive computer simulations, innovative exercises, numerous extensions, connections, and assessment activities.  


Topics Covered: The Earth's Interior, Plate Tectonics, Earth's Landforms, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Minerals & Rocks, and Geological Time.


Features & Benifits:

  • 25+ Lesson Plans correlated to state and national standards, that meet curriculum needs.
  • Accurate and Innovative Simulations that engage students, illustrate and enhance basic concepts.
  • In-depth Discovery Exercises that foster data collection and analytical thinking skills.
  • Learner Strategies including anticipation guides, multiple intelligences, and graphic organizers.
  • Pre and Post-Assessment Activities to test student knowledge and reinforce basic concepts.
  • Links and Extensions provide connections to mathematics, literacy, history, travel, and STSE (Science, Technology, Society, and the Environment).


If you have any questions about the Layered Earth or interest in a multi-user school license, please call 1-877-290-8256

Windows: Requires Windows XP, Vista or 7, 1 GHz or higher processor, 1 GB RAM and 5 GB of hard disk space. 128 MB OpenGL capable graphics card. Minimum recommended monitor resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels.
Macintosh: Requires OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or higher, Intel based processor, 1 GB RAM and 5 GB of hard disk space. Will not run on OS 10.5 or earlier. 128 MB OpenGL capable graphics card. Minimum recommended monitor resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels.