Earth and Space Science

Hands-on activities for studying fossils

I am teaching in our school's Science Lab this year for the first time. I have never taught about fossils before and am very excited about doing this in a hands-on lesson. I want to do a classic "dig" in an affordable way. I will use this with 6 3rd grade classes, so economy is important, I would appreciate suggestions. Thanks!

Sheila Falgout
Sheila Falgout
900 Activity Points

Get plastic containers with low sides of whatever size works best for you and fill them with sand. Shoe boxes also work. Put in small inexpensive fossils like sharks teeth or plastic fossils. Then let the students dig with "tools" such as small sticks and brushes, whatever tool you can think of that is handy (plastic forks and spoons).

Betty Paulsell
Betty Paulsell
48540 Activity Points

I know of some teachers who do what Betty was describing but using a plastic wading pool that several students could work around. Here in my state, the university with a veterinary school will loan out or donate cleaned skeletons of animals for this very purpose. Some supply companies also sell cleaned skeletons. OR you could have the students create their own fossils of shells using air-drying clay and they could look for those imprints or casts.

Tina Harris
Tina Harris
65560 Activity Points

http://www.kcedventures.com/blog/create-your-own-dinosaur-dig-for-kids found some ideas that can help with making your own excavation site!

Rudi Luna
Rudi Herrera
2200 Activity Points

This website is perfect! Thank you so much for sharing it with me.

Sheila Falgout
Sheila Falgout
900 Activity Points

I love the webiste posted by Rudi. Another great resource are fossil kits you can buy. Some can be expensive to get an entire class kit and may be more economical to have students work in groups but this one is a cheaper one I found http://www.windycitynovelties.com/dig-out-dino-fossil.html?gclid=Cj0KEQjw4827BRDJvpbVuKvx-rIBEiQA2_CzsAa-XAYj_qUDaA-nWzh5wTlBAgOlQ8ZYpeosr3E5bsEaAqsM8P8HAQ I love the idea of having students do actual digs to learn about fossils and to make their own fossils with clay.

Nichole Shady
Nichole Shady
595 Activity Points

I love all the ideas and websites posted on here thus far. Salt dough is great for making your own fossil bones. There are many recipes and directions for this on Pinterest. It is fairly economical, especially if needed in large quantities. Another idea I had was buying cheap bags of toy dino-skeletons. My son has a large bag of these that we got at a dollar store I believe. As far as the kits go, I know they can be expensive, but I have found some at the $5 and below store before. My 11 and 5 year old used them and they loved them and the kits worked great.

Brooke Copeland
Brooke Copeland
1270 Activity Points

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