Weird Science: Fun With Fossils with Hawaii Theater for Youth

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)- Dr.V and Taizo Braden are back with the Honolulu Theater for Youth and their awesome learning and theater shows. Remember the Dinosaurs are just here for the month of September! Then a new fun and learning play will be in next month to teach kids the cool wonders of science.

Dr. V Show: Fossils

September 7, 2010

Things you need:

  • Small object you was as fossil (leaf, bone, shell, etc.)
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Water
  • Modeling clay
  • Bowl

The experiment

In this experiment, you are going to build your own fossil. Although fossils usually form over thousands, to millions of years, you can build your own fossil in about a day. Make your modeling clay flat and about an inch and a half thick. Coat your small object with petroleum jelly so it won't stick and press it into your modeling clay. Carefully remove your small object. This impression is one type of fossil, where the organic material decays and all that's left is an impression in the rock. Using your Plaster of Paris, you will make a cast. First coat your impression generously with petroleum jelly. Follow the instructions on the Plaster of Paris container and mix small quantities with water in the bowl. Then, pour the plaster into your impression. Let the plaster set over night. When the plaster is set, remove it from the mold. Now you have a plaster cast which is a replica of your object. This is another type of fossil, where the bones of animal turn into rock.

More information about fossils

There are many different ways fossils are formed. The most common way that fossils are formed is called permineralization, where minerals fill the cellular spaces of an organism and crystallize. The shape of the original plant or animal is preserved as rock. Sometimes all of the original material is dissolves or deteriorates, and all that remains is a rock in the form of the plant or animal. Another way fossils form is when the animal or plant is quickly buried in the sand or mud. Over time, more and more sediment/soil covers the animal and the soil hardens into rock. The organic material decays, leaving an impression in the rock.