Are you looking for a fun way to model the layers of the Earth? How about baking some cookies? Our layers of the Earth sugar cookies are a great way to showcase the three main layers of Earth – the crust, mantle, and core. Kids can help with this recipe so you have the added benefit of practicing math, science, and life skills involved in cooking.

What Are the Earth’s Layers?

The structure of the Earth is often learned by looking at illustrations in textbooks. There are 3 main layers to the Earth – the core, the mantle, and the crust.

The core is found in the center of Earth and is usually divided into the inner core and the outer core. The inner core is made of solid iron and nickel. The outer core is made of liquid iron, nickel, sulfur, and oxygen. The temperature inside the Earth is so great that the metals melt in the outer core. The inner core is solid because of the intense pressure.

The mantle can be divided into 2 or 3 sections. It has solid and liquid portions based on the temperature and pressure being exerted in the area.

The crust is the uppermost layer of Earth. It is the part of the Earth where we live. Its thickness varies based on location – it’s thinner where the oceans are and thicker on the continents (especially the mountains).

Discover some of our favourite books about Earth Science to learn more about the different layers of the earth and how these have impacted the planet.

Learn more about the structure of Earth’s layers from the following websites:

Structure of the Earth from National Geographic Kids

Layers of the Earth Resources from IRIS (includes a short video explaining how scientists determined the different layers)

How to Make Layers of the Earth Sugar Cookies

You can use your favorite sugar cookie recipe for this. The size of your cookies will depend upon the size of your cookie cutters. I wanted giant Earth cookies so I used large cookie cutters. I ended up with 6 large cookies (about 5 inches in diameter) and some leftover dough (which I baked into regular cookies).

I made 3 half batches to get the 3 different layers. You can make whole batches if you want more giant Earth cookies.

I added red food coloring to one batch during the creaming stage. (This represents the mantle layer.) I replaced some of the flour with cocoa for one batch of dough. (This is for the core layer.) I left one batch as is to represent the crust layer.

Looking for more Earth Science activities for kids discover our Rock and Earth Science Activities for more inspiration.

Sugar Cookies Ingredients (makes a full batch of dough):

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2/3 cup shortening
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
4 teaspoons milk
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour – plain flour in the UK
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoons salt
Red food coloring (for mantle layer)
½ cup cocoa (for core layer) – reduce flour to 1 ½ cups

Instructions for Making Sugar Cookies:

  1. Thoroughly cream shortening, sugar, and vanilla. (Add food coloring.)
  2. Add the egg and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Use a spoon to stir in the milk.
  4. Sift together dry ingredients.
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture until the dough just begins to come together.
  6. Divide each dough in half and form into a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour.
  7. On a floured surface, use your hands to press out the dough. Then, roll to 1/8 inch thickness.
  8. Cut into concentric circles to represent the different layers of the Earth and assemble the tricolored cookies.
  9. Bake on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper at 375° for 6 to 8 minutes.

Once the cookies cool, use them in your Earth science lesson to represent the 3 main layers of Earth.

Layers of the Earth Sugar Cookies

Represent the layers of the Earth with this edible earth science by making sugar cookies. Show the 3 main layers in this delicious science model for kids to make.
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Course: Cookies
Author: Trisha Stanley

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 4 teaspoons milk
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour Plain Flour in the UK
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • Red food coloring for mantle layer
  • ½ cup cocoa for core layer – reduce flour to 1 ½ cups

Instructions

  • Thoroughly cream shortening, sugar, and vanilla. (Add food coloring for the Mantle Layer section.)
  • Add the egg and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Use a spoon to stir in the milk.
  • Sift together dry ingredients.
  • Stir the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture until the dough just begins to come together.
  • Divide each dough in half and form into a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour.
  • On a floured surface, use your hands to press out the dough. Then, roll to 1/8 inch thickness.
  • Cut into concentric circles to represent the different layers of the Earth and assemble the tricolored cookies.
  • Bake on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper at 375°F for 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Once the cookies cool, use them in your Earth science lesson to represent the 3 main layers of Earth.
Tried this recipe?Mention @rainydaymum or tag #rainydaymum!

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Author
Trisha Stanley

Trisha is an educator with a passion for science literacy and mom to Aiden, Lily, and Elon.

She’s the creator of Inspiration Laboratories, a blog dedicated to encouraging learning through creativity and play.

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