Fossil sand matrix

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Fossil sand matrix
Age Range 5-8 (grades 1-2), 8-11 (grades 3-5), 11-14 (grades 6-8)
Group Size medium (6-20)
Setting outdoors
Setup Time medium (6-30 min)
Duration medium (11-30 min)
Subjects fossils, dinosaurs
Materials sand, cement, round forms, fossils, cooking spray, safety goggles
Presentation Style active, demonstration, interactive, model, student led

Brief Description

Students will scrape and dig fossils out of a hard rock-like material- just like real paleontologists do!

This Is How You Play

Mixture is best done about 2 days before activity. The longer the matrix sits the harder it will become.

  1. Mix 8 parts of sand with 1 part cement (portland cement is recommended).
  2. Add small amounts of water until mixture is dry cornmeal consistency (2 parts water is recommended). A wetter mix will make harder cement.
  3. Spray the round molds liberally with cooking oil to prevent sticking.
  4. Layer sand and fossil mixture in forms.
  5. Lay fossils down in pan, pack sand mixture on top fossils, and then add more fossils pressing into first fossil layer with the last layer a generous amount of sand.
  6. Allow to cement to set up.


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