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Make Your Own Fossil

Autopause

Materials

1 Large Round Petri Dish
1 Large Round Petri Dish
1 Container of Putty
1 Container of Putty
1 Plastic Dinosaur
1 Plastic Dinosaur
1 Empty Measuring Tube
1 Empty Measuring Tube
1 Large Container of Calcium Sulfate
1 Large Container of Calcium Sulfate

Instructions

STEP 1
0:00

Reach into your kit & pull out the bag that says Experiment 17. Take everything out of the bag and place it around your white mat.

STEP 2
0:54

Place the round petri dish in the center of your mat, open the container of putty and take it out.

STEP 3
1:20

Next, start to flatten the putty, like a pancake. Take your time, it’s tough. Then, place the flattened putty into the petri dish.

STEP 4
1:47

Continue pressing the putty into a pancake. You want to fill in the putty around the entire bottom of the petri dish.

STEP 5
2:45

Next, take the Empty tube and fill it all the way to the top with water. Cold water works best. Put the cap back on the tube of water and place it to the side for later.

STEP 6
3:18

Take your dinosaur and press it into the putty. Use your thumbs to press it down for 10 seconds. Next, press on the head for 3 seconds and then the tail for another 3 seconds.

STEP 7
3:56

Now gently wiggle and take the dinosaur out of the putty. You’ll see there’s an imprint left in the putty.

STEP 8
4:03

To make the fossil, open the container of Calcium Sulfate, and add in the tube of water. Quickly recap the container and shake it to mix it right away. Be sure to shake it strong for 10 seconds.

STEP 9
4:45

Next, open the container and pour it right on top of the putty. Be sure to fill in the entire dinosaur and then fill it in all the way around the petri dish.

STEP 10
5:11

Fill in the gaps by giving the petri dish a little shake gently. Pick it up slightly and tap it down on the table to finish taking out any trapped bubbles. Then let it sit for 1 hour to harden completely.

STEP 11
6:02

To take out the fossil, gently press on the bottom of the petri dish, pushing upwards. Continue all the way around the bottom of the dish until the fossil is loose enough to take out. Simply pull the putty away to reveal your fossil.

How It Works

A fossil is any evidence of past life, like a footprint or a bone. Sometimes a dinosaur would die in a muddy environment and be washed away by rain and floods. The imprint left behind would become filled in and hardened over time with sand, silt, and other materials from the flowing water. Millions of years later, it would be discovered by a paleontologist. That's someone who studies dinosaurs.

We replicated this process by using our putty as the muddy environment, and our white plaster was the flood of sand and silt that hardened it to make a fossil. Once it dried, we were able to discover the fossil just like a paleontologist would.
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