One of the many things we've worked on this week was a scale model of the layers of the atmosphere. This is a presentation from the Waseca biome curriculum. You can access the curriculum for free and read the presentation on the Waseca site.
This is something the boys and I made together. Each centimeter represents a kilometer. The boys helped me measure and cut the papers. The cut out the mountainous surface of the Earth from brown paper and they cut clouds out of paper for the Troposphere. We surfed the web together to choose images for the model (airplane, weather balloon, meteors, space shuttle, satellite, Aurora Borealis). They helped print, cut and laminate the images.
I, of course, couldn't resist changing the product in a few ways. The Thermosphere should have been 500 cm long with an arrow at the top to indicate that it can expand to up to 1000 km depending on the Sun. If we had done that the model would not fit in our classroom (it would be about the size of the 1000 chain). We can't stretch across the front of the house with the puppy gates up so we limited the Thermosphere to 300 cm with an arrow.
Also, rather than glue the images to the model, we laminated ours and are keeping them in an envelope so that the boys can "rebuild" the model when they wish.
We also added removable labels for each layer (Surface, Troposphere, Stratosphere, Mesosphere, Thermosphere) and for the depths of each layer. Having the boys do the measuring was an important part of the process. They really can't remember the names of the layers, but they both can recite the depth and purpose of each layer like they are giving a recital.