Friday, September 20, 2013

Dinosaur Fossils, PreK Style

Making fossils is always a fun way to wrap up your dinosaur study. These are very easy and you probably have everything you need on hand.

Playdough:
Enough to cover 1/2" on the bottom of disposable bowls x the numbers of students you are working with.
Plaster of Paris: You will need about 3/4" on top of  playdough for each fossil.
Disposable bowls
A variety of small plastic dinosaurs

I put names on each bowl before I even start the activity. (1 thing I don't have to worry about later).

Working with a small group of 3 or 4 children, give them each a handful of playdough pushing it down flat on the table. Then put it in the bowl making sure it is pressed to the bottom. I usually then flip them over and make sure it covers the bottom so it is a nice smooth surface on top.

Now let each child choose a dinosaur to make a fossil of and help them put the dinosaur on its side and push it into the clay to form a good impression. Slowly pull the dinosaur up to make sure it worked.

 After these are ready, mix enough plaster of paris to pour on top of the playdough or wait until all of them are done and make up one large batch. I like to do it in small batches so the kids can help me mix it and pour it. Make sure to follow the dry mix to water ratio so it sits up correctly.

The plaster of paris says it dries to the touch in thirty minutes. I always let ours sit over night to make sure they are completely dry before sending them home.
Don't forget to write names on them as you take them out of the bowls so you don't get them mixed up.

When you are ready, carefully turn them over, they should pop right out. The playdough should peel right off as well. If you have tiny pieces of playdough in cracks and crevices you may need a soft bristle brush to clean them, but it is usually not a problem.

Of course you can use this same process with sea shells or other small objects...

Have a great weekend!
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