Grade Levels:


Before Listening…

Before you listen to the episode, fill out the following chart. What do you know already about what lies beneath the Earth’s surface? What do you want to know?

Graphic Organizer

While you listen to the episode, take notes on what you learn in the space provided below.

Listening Comprehension Questions

Answer each of the following questions after you listen to the episode. Then, compare your notes with a friend--do you all agree on your answers?

  1. Have we ever drilled through the Earth’s crust?

  2. How do we know what the layers of the Earth are and what they’re made of?

  3. When was the first plan to drill through the Earth’s crust? What was it called, and why was it called that?

  4. Who was the scientist who discovered the border between the Earth’s crust and the mantle? How did he discover it?

  5. Where’s the easiest place on earth to drill through the Earth’s crust? What are the challenges with reaching that place? What technology did they have to develop to surmount those challenges?

  1. How far did project Mohole get through the Earth’s crust? Why did the project get cancelled?  

  2. When was the most recent effort to get to the Moho discontinuity? How did they plan to get there? Why did they decide to stop?

  3. What can scientists learn from a “pure” sample of the mantle? Why do you think they can’t learn that just from rocks on the surface, or from studying magma?

  4. How far down do you have to dig to get to lava? How hot is lava?

  5. What is the difference between magma and lava?

Discussion Questions

After listening to the episode, discuss each of these questions with a partner or in a group.

  1. If scientists keep failing to reach the center of the Earth, is it a good idea to keep trying? Why or why not?
  2. Did this episode leave you with any more questions about the Earth? Is there anything else you’d like to know? What is it?