Fossil impressions

Discussion in 'General Education' started by prinjess82, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. prinjess82

    prinjess82 Rookie

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    Nov 7, 2009

    Ok...I am wanting to have a group of 100+ kids do fossil impressions for an upcoming science night at my school. It will be ages K-5, and want it to be pretty easy, quick, economical. I plan to put out various materials and allow the students to make impressions that they can take home. I DO NOT want casts of the impressions. Need to know a good material to use. That I can get a lot of, that won't dry too fast but will dry enough for the kids to take them home that same night. Any ideas? There so many types of clay and such out there...checking around. Thanks.
     
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  3. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Nov 7, 2009

    I can't really help in that area, but I do have a good suggestion for you.



    Call some local drilling companies and ask if they ever find fossils in their rock cores.

    I have never drilled in Texas, but in Tennessee it's all Limestone bedrock which has LOTS of fossils in it. If you lived here, it would be pretty easy to get a driller to give you a rock core or possibly come into your class to show the kids what's in the rock underneath them.
     
  4. scienceteach82

    scienceteach82 Cohort

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    Nov 7, 2009

    plaster of paris worked for me
     
  5. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    Nov 7, 2009

    Plaster will be the cheapest but will involve water and a lot more mess. It will set up quickly but not really dry for sometime, possibly days. Being that you'll have these be thin, it might work out in less time but they'll still be fragile for transport the same night.

    Air dry clay will give you the least mess but it will take x amount of time to dry, also possibly days. I just did a glancing search and a 25lb container costs $32. That's enough for at at least 25 children and if you go to 1/2 lb measure, 50 children. As long as you restrict your size limit on objects being made into fossils, you can get the media to go further. Air dry clay will take anywhere from overnight to a day and a half to really set up and dry depending on how thick you make the impressions. It'd be just like regular clay drying to greenware.

    Provide for carrying them home with some sort of box to reduce handling (thus damage and breakage) and you can go either way. Also have a fan blowing over the finished projects while what ever other activities you have planned are going on. This might cause some cracking but it should be minimal. Buy a small amount of either and give them a test run on drying time and cracking.

    The only general materials that dry quickly for your purposes are catalytic and thus not suitable for children. Plaster is catalytic but not so that children can't use it.

    Good luck.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 7, 2009

    Ditto on plaster of paris...dries quickly. You could do in 'Dixie' bathroom cups that the kids could carry home.
     
  7. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Nov 7, 2009

    I attended a session Monday that had premade rocks (the recipe is at school, but basically old coffee grounds (they got them from Starbucks), flour, salt, water...and I think that's it. They put in sharks teeth that they had ordered. We used "tools" to break apart the rocks and find the fossils (tooth picks and paint brushes). That would save the drying time for the plaster. I did the plaster fossils one year, but just for 4th grade. The fossils were left in my room overnight and the kids brought them home the next day.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 8, 2009

    1 cup of used coffee grounds
    1/2 cup of cold coffee
    1 cup of flour
    1/2 cup of salt
    Wax paper
    Mixing bowl
    Some small objects to make impressions in the dough
    Empty can or a butter knife
    Toothpicks, optional
    String to hang your fossil, optional
    How to make it:
    Stir the together the coffee grounds, cold coffee, flour, and salt until well mixed.
    Knead the dough together and then flatten it out onto the waxed paper.
    Use the can to cut out circles of the dough or use the dull knife to cut slabs large enough to fit your "fossil" objects.
    Press your objects firmly into the dough. When you take the object out, you have your "fossil". If you want to hang the fossil, poke holes into the edge to hold the string.
    Let the fossil dry overnight and then hang it if you wish.
     

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