Fossils - make your own !

You may have seen them in a museum or in books - fossil Dinosaur bones. Now you can create your own "fossils", and it won't take a million years to do it!


A fossil is the remains of a once living thing that is preserved in rock. Usually the plant or animal is buried in sediment (mud) in the absence of air, so it does not rot away. As the mud hardens into stone, it preserves the shape of the buried remains and can form an imprint.

Sometimes bone or shell turns to rock in the exact shape of what was buried. So Dinosaur bones are not bones at all, they are rocks in the shape of bone! Petrified wood will is rock in the shape of the wood that was buried! Some scientists think that the fossil making process takes a very, very long time, maybe millions of years!

Here's how to make your own "fossils" in a lot less time!

  1. Half fill an ice-cream container with sand and make a hollow
  2. Place a shell or fern leaf at the bottom
  3. Pour in Plaster of Paris to fill the hollow and smooth the surface
  4. Leave the plaster to set for about 3 or 4 hours
  5. Remove the hardened plaster from the sand and you should have your own "fossil" imprint!

To make Plaster of Paris:

  1. Buy a bag from a local art supply store. Put about 2 cups of water into an ice-cream container.
  2. Sprinkle the plaster onto the water so it dissolves gradually, stirring all the time.
  3. Keep adding more plaster until it thickens into a paste, a bit like melted ice-cream.


  1. Cut the bottom off an ice-cream container to leave the four sides. Push this into the ground around a foot print of an animal or child. Pour in some plaster and you have made a cast your can keep!
  2. Visit a local museum and look at any old bones or fossils they have. Where did they come from? How old are they?
  3. Is there a place nearby where you can dig up your own fossils to start a collection?
  4. The interactive pages...arrange the planets of our solar system
  5. The interactive pages...uncover the hidden secrets of each planet

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