Mar 30, 2012

Dinosaur Fossils

This is really fun for students that are learning about fossils and imprints.
1. I found some inexpensive plastic dinosaurs skeletons at Oriental Trading Company, which are perfect for this project. I used regular clay for the imprints, play dough would work also.
2. To prepare for the plaster pouring, give each student a 5" square of cardboard, an 11" x 2" strip of heavy weight paper, a bit of tape, and the 2.5" ball of clay. The students are to tape their strip of paper into a ring, overlapping about an inch. With the paper ring laying on the cardboard, they should make their ball into a flat "pancake" that will fit inside the circle.
3. With the "pancake" removed from the paper ring, the student is to take a dino and make an impression into the clay, using the side of the head. If there is room, a foot print may be added. Make sure they make a firm imprint.
4. The "pancake" gets placed back in the paper ring, impression side up. Plaster is mixed with water until it is the consistency of pudding, and then poured into the ring. Pour enough plaster to make a layer that is about 1" thick.
5. After the plaster has dried (about an hour) the paper ring can be torn away and the dough can be removed. If it sticks to the plaster, let it dry 24 hours and then scrub with a brush under water.
6. After the plaster fossils are clean and dry, paint them with very watered-down paint. Watercolor or tempera work, anything to give the plaster a muddy look.
My son loved making this model in the 2nd grade.


Christina said...

What a great idea! My 6 yr old loves dinosaurs right now, I'm going to do this with him.

Thanks for the great blog!

Prairie Mother said...

I love this idea! I'm sending it to my science teacher friend right now. Great!

Cheryl Hancock said...

That is a great idea !! PS Kathy some of your images have not been uploaded properly. Check it out

Joyful Learner said...

Great idea! I wanted to introduce some clay work and this might be a good start since our daughter loves dinosaurs and know every single one by name!

Do you have any good clay projects that are easy for 3-4 year old to do?

Love your blog and how easy it is to do them!

Hannah said...

I LOVE your blog!! I just went to an art networking conference this past fall and learned a nice quick way to make fossil impressions, as well! Did you know, you can easily make a relief using cheap, one-ply toilet paper? Simply place one square of t.p. on top of a dinosaur toy (from the dollar store) or a stamp and wet down with water and a paintbrush. Keep layering with one sheet at a time, wetting each square with a paintbrush- 10 sheets total. Wait to dry and peel off!.... SUPER quick and super easy!

Check out my blog! I just started and would love some advice!

Anonymous said...

i just did a project like this with my 4th and 5th grade art classes. Instead of cardboard walls i used used plastic containers. I also used found objects instead of skeletons and taught about positive and negative molds. They loved it and it is a different are process than they are use to!!! Always love to hear new ideas-thanks so much!