Making Fossils

Grade Levels: 1 - 4


  • Students will experiment.
  • Students will observe.


  • One cup salt
  • One cup flour
  • One tsp. alum (available at any pharmacy)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Bones, leaves, toy dinosaurs, shells


  1. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  2. Slowly add the water until a dough is formed and the mixture sticks together.
  3. Roll the dough into balls, then flatten into a pancake.
  4. Press the leaves, shells, bones, toy dinosaurs, or other objects in the dough to make an impression.
  5. Dry. (Paint if you desire.)
  6. Ask the children which objects made the different impressions.

Extension Activities:
  • Make fossils with plaster of Paris. (Rub petroleum jelly on the objects before making an impression with them in the plaster of Paris.)
  • How about fossil cookies? Take "slice and bake" cookie dough and cut off a piece for each child. Let them make thumb prints or use other objects to make impressions in the dough. Cook according to directions.
  • Make mud dough from dirt, water, straw, and glue. Let children make a pancake around an object, then dry it in the sun for several days. Break it open to reveal a fossil.
  • Excerpt from Science Surprises! .

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