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The Fossil Record Activity for Kids

Fossils in Rock Layers DIY

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Cost: $0 to $20

Learn how to make a model of rock layers with fossils!

Material List

  • 1Bowl
  • 1Sheet of Aluminum Foil
  • 1Cup of Water
  • 3Food Coloring Tubes
  • 1Cup of Plaster of Paris
  • 1Cup of Sand
  • 3Different types of items to fossilize
  • 3Cups
  • 1Spoon


  • 1Mix a quarter cup (1/4) of sand and a quarter cup (1/4) of Plaster of Paris into a cup. Then add 2 tablespoons of water and 4 drops of food coloring. Mix it up.
  • 2Take one type of “fossil,” put it the cup and mix around.
  • 3Put a sheet of aluminum foil in the bowl and pour the mixture into it.
  • 4Repeat the same steps for the next 2 cups, with a different “fossil” and a different food coloring each time.
  • 5Let it set overnight, then use some household tools to dig for fossils!

How It Works

You’ll notice that the first fossils we added are in the bottom layer. The second fossils we added are in the middle layer. And the third fossils we added are in the top layer. Scientists digging for fossils can use this simple concept to understand which fossils are older and which are newer, based on which layer they are in. It takes thousands or millions of years for actual fossils to form, so this activity is just a simple model.

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