Sample Activity: Fossil Prints

Here’s a sample of an activity available at Fossil Discovery Center or Children’s Science Museum

ACTIVITY: Fossil Prints



Objective

The students simulate fossil prints using clay to explore the concept of a fossil and to make inferences from given information, i.e., humans believe that dinosaurs existed because we have found their fossil remains.

Materials

Using a variety of materials including small bones, leaves, ferns work well, shells, buttons or coins A small piece of modeling clay

Discussion

Fossils appear buried in the earth as either actual bones or teeth, or as impressions or prints, or as spaces or casts left in stone after the object has decayed away.

Procedures

  1. Press half the clay flat and smooth. 
  2. Place item onto the clay. Make a few impressions in the clay with a button, coin or twig. 
  3. Roll out the other half of the clay and place it over the objects on the first half. Press the two pieces of clay together gently to keep the clay from breaking. Take care that the clay molds the bone or other objects. 
  4. After the clay has dried, somewhat, carefully separate the pieces of clay. The prints of the leaves and a cast of the bone can be seen.