Fun with Fossils Instructographic: Make Your Own Fossils Activity
Real fossils are millions and even billions of years old, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own version at home. All you need are a few specimens to fossilize plus flour, salt, and, well, cold coffee and coffee grounds left over from this morning’s brew.
How do these unusual ingredients combine to help your student learn about fossils? Find out in our Fun with Fossils Instructographic, which gives you step-by-step instructions on how to make your own fossils.
Before you get started, quiz your student with some basic questions to measure his or her fossil knowledge.
- What are fossils? The preserved remains of plants, animals, and other organisms.
- Where are fossils found? In (sedimentary) rock.
- Why do we study fossils? To determine an organism’s anatomy, its way of life, and how it evolved.
- What are the people who study fossils called? Paleontologists.
- Have you seen any fossils? What kind?
Digging for Fossils. Parents and Learning Coaches, consider making the fossils ahead of time and burying them in the backyard. Challenge your child to search for the fossils and dig them up. What are his or her observations about the fossilized organisms?
A Paleontology Expedition. After trying this “make your own fossils” activity, take a trip to a nearby museum to see some real fossils. Ask your student to identify the fossil type of each specimen you look at. You can also visit a national park and take along this fun Junior Paleontologist’s Activity booklet for ages 5–12.
- The word fossil comes from the Latin word fossilis, which means “obtained by digging.”
- Fossils are usually found within sedimentary rock, which is made up of sand, mud, and small pieces of rock compressed together.
- A fossil discovery in 1993 uncovered the Argentinosaurus, the largest dinosaur we have evidence of. It would have been about 130 feet long and weighed about 110 tons.
- The oldest fossil we’ve found is of some algae, and it’s over three billion years old.
- A fossil of the Microraptor, the smallest dinosaur at 12 inches long, was discovered in China.
- The largest fossil forest in the world was discovered in some coal mines in eastern Illinois. Four square miles of a swamp were preserved when an earthquake submerged the land 307 million years ago.
How did your homemade fossils turn out? Share your opinions about the activity!