By Corkie Neumann

Objective :

  1. To investigate how scientists study the interior of the earth.
  2. To investigate how core samples are made.

Materials :

  • Cupcake
  • Paper towels
  • 5 plastic straws
  • Student data sheet


  1. Your teacher will place a cupcake on a paper towel in front of you.
  2. Do not touch the cupcake until told to do so.
  3. On your data sheet, describe what the cupcake looks like.
  4. Predict what you think the inside of your cupcake looks like. (Draw it if you wish).
  5. Draw the top of your cupcake.
  6. Cut the 5 plastic straws in half so that you have 10 straws.
  7. Place a straw between the first finger and thumb and rotate the straw as you push it into the cupcake. Mark on your drawing (of the top of your cupcake) where you took your "core sample."
  8. Remove your core sample by blowing gently through the straw.
  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 nine more times at different locations around your cupcake.
  10. Make another prediction of what you think the interior of your cupcake looks like now that you have made your core samples.
  11. After completing your data sheet, cut the cupcake in half from top to bottom.
  12. Complete the student data sheet.


What can you say about how scientists study the interior of the earth? Describe how taking core samples help in this process.

  1. Examine your cupcake without touching it and write a description of the appearance of it.
  2. Predict what you think the inside of the cupcake looks like. Draw it.
  3. Draw the top view of the cupcake. Mark on this drawing the locations of each of the 10 core samples.
  4. Drawing of each core sample:
    • Sample 1
    • Sample 2
    • Sample 3
    • Sample 4
    • Sample 5
    • Sample 6
    • Sample 7
    • Sample 8
    • Sample 9
    • Sample 10
  5. What did you learn from your samples?
  6. Make a new prediction about the inside of your cupcake. Draw it.
  7. How did your prediction compare to the actual appearance?