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Lesson 09 – Experiment: Make Your Own Fossil

Read The Experiment to Learn How to Make Your Own Fossil

Make Your Own Fossil

With a few simple materials, you can see for yourself how fossils are made.

What You Need
What You Do
What You Need

  • Modelling clay
  • A small object to “fossilize,” such as a seashell
  • Petroleum jelly

What You Do

Make a mould for the fossil

  1. Create two small, thick slabs of modelling clay. Each slab should be a bit thicker than the object you are going to fossilize.
  2. Cover the object you want to fossilize with petroleum jelly. This will stop the clay from sticking to the object.
  3. Lay the object on one of the clay slabs. Push it into the clay, but do not push it right to the bottom of the slab. Part of the object can stay above the surface of the slab.
  4. Put the other clay slab on top of the first slab. Push down on the top slab to make sure it surrounds the object.
  5. Lift off the top slab of clay. Carefully lift the object out of the bottom slab. Try not to stretch the bottom slab as you remove the object.
  6. Leave the two slabs in the open until they are dry. The dents your object made in the slabs are the mould for your fossil.

Make the fossil

  1. Cover both sides of the mould with petroleum jelly.
  2. Create a ball from soft modelling clay and put it in one side of the mould.
  3. Put the other side of the mould on top and carefully press down. This makes the ball take the same shape as the mould.
  4. Slowly open the mould and carefully remove the fossil you have made. Leave the fossil in the open to dry.

Now Show What You Know!

Complete some questions about the reading selection by clicking “Begin Questions” below.