Monday, June 17, 2013

Backyard Book Club: Making Fossils

During the month of June, our Backyard Book Club read Ivy + Bean Break the Fossil Record by Annie Barrows. So what could we do but make fossils at our meeting? The kids loved this activity and were so excited to take their fossils home.

To make fossils of your own, you'll need these materials:
  • aluminum foil
  • modeling clay
  • Plaster of Paris
  • whatever you want to fossilize--plants, shells, plastic bugs (but don't worry, all you'll do is push these into the clay and take them back out. They won't really be fossilized!)
Here's how to make your own fossil in just a few minutes (plus drying time):

1. Put a lump of modeling clay on a piece of aluminum foil and flatten it until it's about 3/4" thick.

2. Press whatever you want to "fossilize" deep into the clay, then carefully remove it. We used plastic bugs and butterflies, sea shells, and clippings from juniper and spruce trees. (It looks best if you put the bugs belly-up in this step.)

3. Mix up a little Plaster of Paris by stirring powder and water together according to package instructions. Then pour your plaster over the top of your clay and use the back of a spoon to press it down into all the little indentations. (Warning: Your plaster may set even before the package instructions say it will, so it's best to mix the plaster right before you're going to use it. :)

4. Play other fun games while you wait for the plaster to dry! Ours were ready in about an hour.

5. Turn your fossil over and carefully peel back the clay. (You can reuse the clay for other projects.) Don't they look great?

More about fossils:
Come back next week for another fun activity from this month's Backyard Book Club!

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