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Fossils: Observing, Making and Learning

Source Institutions

    Children's Museum of Indianapolis

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Fossils: Observing, Making and Learning

In this activity, learners explore how casts of fossilized bones are created and used to learn about dinosaurs. Learners make observations, draw diagrams and share their findings. Learners also make clay molds to create plaster copies of real fossils. Then, learners consider how animals' and dinosaurs' body parts were used for protection, hunting, eating, etc. This activity is featured on pp.11-13 (part of a lesson that begins on p.7) of the "Dinosphere" unit of study for grades 3-5.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
4 to 24 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Tooth resin cast -- T. rex
  • Claw resin cast -- T. rex
  • Skeleton diagram of Stan -- T. rex
  • Plaster
  • Cups of water
  • Bowls (for mixing)
  • Stir sticks
  • Modeling clay
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • Paper towels
  • Magnifying lenses
  • Centimeter rulers
  • Dino Diaries (pp. 111-114)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth's History
      • Archeology
      • Fossils
      • Dinosaurs
      • History of Life
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Evolution
      • Mechanisms of Evolution
      • History of Life
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Model Building


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, ©2004


User Lists

This resource is part of these lists:

  • Thumbnail mATSI by rmerton on 2012-07-10
  • Thumbnail Fossils by mtmartzke on 2014-01-29
  • Thumbnail Dinosaur by Magnerhomeschool on 2016-07-11