In science class, you learned that scientists study fossils to understand how animals in the past were similar to the animals that are alive today. A fossil is the very old remains of a plant or animal. By making your own fossils in this activity, you and your family members will learn how some fossils form.
- paper cup
- petroleum jelly
- clay or modeling dough
- plastic animal figure
With an adult's help, press a large piece of clay or modeling dough into the paper cup. Smear some petroleum jelly on the animal figure. Push it into the clay. The animal represents an extinct animal. Now cover the animal with another piece of clay or modeling dough. Put the whole thing in the freezer and wait an hour. Take the fossil out of the freezer. Carefully separate the two layers of clay and pull out the figure. Observe the “fossils” of the animal in the two layers.
Pretend you are a fossil hunter. What kinds of information could you tell about the extinct animal by studying its fossil? How is the fossil you made similar to a real fossil?