ESRL Global Systems Division

Education - Wooly Magma

Wooly Magma is a felting project that teaches participants (best for ages ten and up) about the structure of the Earth. The felt model is constructed with colorful wool rovings (wool that has been washed, carded, and processed into long strips), each correlating to a layer of the Earth that is named and discussed during the crafting process. A small psychedelic rubber ball is used to represent the Earth's inner core around which the wool is wrapped to create a solid sphere of felt. At the end of the felting, the balls are cut open to reveal a geode-like layering.

This project was designed by ESRL/Global Systems Division's Annie Reiser (a non-scientist) as her contribution to a past science festival held at NOAA in Boulder. The project, which supports NOAA's cross-cutting environmental literacy program, has since been offered to groups for Science Fairs, Bring Your Child to Work Days, Earth Day activities, and school groups at the Boulder Labs, as well as off-site demos upon request.

The following are available for classroom use:

Wooly Magma Felting Poster
Felting Poster (pdf ~9MB)
Wooly Magma Felted Earth Poster (thumbnail)
Wooly Magma Felted Earth Poster (pdf)
Wooly Magma - Inner Core, Outer Core, and Mantle Image
Inner Core, Outer Core, and Mantle
Wooly Magma Transition Zone, Asthenosphere, Lithosphere, Crust Image
Transition Zone, Asthenosphere, Lithosphere, Earth's Crust
Wooly Magma Pamphlet
Foldable Pamphlet with Instructions (pdf ~9MB)

Wooly Magma News:

  • From the Boulder Daily Camera (December 3, 2006) - Wooly Magma: Layers of Learning
  • GSD Headline: Wooly Magma: A Mammoth Project
  • Photo gallery of the effort to assemble thousands of kits for NOAA's 200th Anniversary Celebration.
    • Gallery 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5
  • Images from Field-Stevenson School, Forest Park, IL (click image to view larger version)
    Wooly Magma Image   Wooly Magma Image   Wooly Magma Image   Wooly Magma Image  
    Wooly Magma Image   Wooly Magma Image   Wooly Magma Image  

If you are interested in having a group demo (ages 10 an older, please, and group size no larger than 20), please contact Ann Reiser. There is a limited supply of kits available.


Ann Reiser