Have a kid who loves fossils? Growing up- believe it or not- I had quite a large fossil collection- dorky I know! I have sadly gotten rid of most of them, but I have a few boxes left. (I even had an elephant leg bone once!) But I seriously used to go to all the local fossil shows every year! I’d save up my money from my allowance and buy fossils. Want to teach your class a neat science lesson? Why not make your own fossils! It’s very simple yet teaches kids a great lesson. All you need is your “fossil” which can be a seashell, a shark tooth, a stick, even a toy impression if you want- it can be anything! You can use leaves but some of them tend to rip when you try to remove them. You’ll need Plaster of Paris, and some sort of container to pour your plaster of paris in- whether it’s a bowl made from aluminum foil, an old tupperware or tray, etc.
If you’re working with plaster of paris from powder, simply mix as per instructions. Take your “fossil” and press it into the plaster. Wait about 30 minutes, then remove your ‘fossil’ and check out the impression that it has made! Kids will need help mixing the plaster- it’s quite messy and dries very quickly! Explain to your kids how animals, plants, and other objects can leave impressions in rocks for many years! We learn a lot about history this way.
If you’re doing this experiment or discussion in class check out this pre-made slide show I found showing kids different pictures of fossils and guessing where they came from.