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Fossils Activities & Games

Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

Fossils are an important part of our history that help scientists learn more about plants and animals that lived in the past. Check out this lesson for engaging activities and games that teach students about fossils.

Fossil Activities

Make Your Own Fossil

In this activity, students get to create their own fossil and write an informational piece about it.

Materials:

  • The following makes one large fossil for every three students:
    • 1 cup of used coffee grounds
    • 1/2 cup of cold coffee
    • 1/2 cup of salt
    • 1 cup of flour
  • Collection of items to be fossilized
    • Students may gather their own items or the teacher could gather them.
    • Examples: twigs, leaves, walnut shells, acorns, flower petals, seashells, or other things in nature.
  • Parchment paper or wax paper
  • Writing paper
  • Pencils

Procedure:

  • Students will work individually.
  • Ask students what we can learn from fossils. Tell them they get to create their own fossils that scientists will find many years from now.
  • Students should prepare the dough in groups of three:
    • Mix together coffee grounds, coffee, salt, and flour. Adjust flour if dough is too sticky.
  • Have students split the dough so that each student gets about the same amount.
  • Students will flatten dough into a circle.
  • Carefully take item to be fossilized, and press it into the dough. Once a good enough impression is made, remove the item.
  • Allow the dough to dry.
  • While the dough is drying, it may need flipping so that the back can dry as well.
  • Next students will work on a creative writing piece. They are to pretend that they are paleontologists from the future. During a fossil dig in the year 3030, a certain type of fossil was found (whatever the student made). Students are to write a clear description of this dig, what was found, and what it tells us about the area at the time.
  • Students should be descriptive and explain what this fossil tells about life way back in 2017.
  • Students will write a rough draft and type a final copy.
  • Final writing may be displayed on a bulletin board.

How Is a Fossil Made?

In this activity, students have an opportunity to write step-by-step how a fossil is made.

Materials:

  • Resources about fossils (texts, notes, etc.)
  • Construction paper or drawing paper
  • Crayons, markers, colored pencils
  • Pencils
  • Computers for each student if possible

Procedure:

  • Students may work individually or with a partner.
  • Students may create this project on a computer with various programs such as PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, or Google Slides. Students could also do this project by hand.
  • Review with students how fossils are made and why they are important for research.
  • Explain that students will write step-by-step instructions on how fossils are made.
    • The step-by-step instructions must have visuals to go along with the description.
  • Students will write at least one paragraph explaining the importance of fossils and what they tell us about the past.
  • Students will display their final project or share it with the class if it's created on the computer.

Fossil Games

Fossil Hunt

Students get to become paleontologists and go on a fossil hunt in this game.

Materials:

  • Fossil pictures of at least two different animals cut into puzzle pieces
    • Each animal that is used should have at least three different fossils that will fit together to create the entire animal. Example: skull and neck, the torso and legs, and the bottom or tail.
    • There should be multiple copies of fossils for each type of animal.
  • Large area indoors or outdoors for hiding the fossils
  • Journals or notebooks to record findings and descriptions

Procedure:

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