5 fun ways to explore the earth with LEGO Bricks

One of your child’s favorite activities with LEGO Bricks is, no doubt, breaking open a new model and getting right to work. But here are some models that are also useful in teaching quick and easy science lessons about planet Earth that will get their imaginations running.

Layers of earth: Thanks to the different shapes and colors of LEGO Bricks, you can illustrate a simple Earth science lesson by showing the layers beneath the grass and dirt under our feet. Try this simple model created by the blog Little Bins for Little Hands that shows the transition from humus to topsoil to subsoil to bedrock. Include some green grass and trees on top and include a simple diagram for tree roots as well. For more soil facts and ideas for experiments, the Soil Science Society of America has plenty of links and resources.

Core: Little Bins for Little Hands also uses LEGO Bricks to show a slice of the earth, revealing the planet’s crust, mantle, outer core and, of course, its 10,000-degree inner core.  

Shifting plates: Once you’ve explored below the earth’s surface, it’s time to focus on the action it creates above the surface. Learn about tectonic plates and how they lead to earthquakes. Then create an earthquake shake table (programmed and powered by LEGO Mindstorms) and try your hand at engineering a structure that stays standing.   

Water cycle: This model is a simple, hands-on way to show kids the complexities of the water cycle, as shown by the blog Edventures With Kids. On a flat surface, you can build some clouds, water, land and rain, and use smaller pieces to show water moving through its many phases, from evaporation to condensation to precipitation.   

Solar-powered car: With Earth Day coming up, this is the perfect time to learn about alternative energy. This project is more complicated and will need plenty of help (and tools) from a grownup. But it makes for a fascinating hands-on solar lesson for kids that results in a simple vehicle powered by sunshine. Once they master the basics, they can go on to design something more complex! 

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