Paper plate ammonite

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Paper plate ammonite
Age Range 3-5 (PreK-K), 5-8 (grades 1-2)
Group Size small (1-5), medium (6-20)
Setting indoors
Setup Time medium (6-30 min)
Duration medium (11-30 min)
Subjects geology, fossils, ammonite
Key terms ammonite, nautilus, jurassic, cretaceous, fossils
Materials paper plates, various color strips of yarn, water color paint, markers, tape/glue/or staples
Presentation Style model

Brief Description

Students will create ammonites- ancient cretaceous creatures- out of paper plates.


  • Students will be able to identify an ammonite fossil.
  • Students will understand basic anatomy of the ammonite and how it lived and moved.

Scientific Background

Ammonites are one of the most widely known fossils, possessing the typically ribbed spiral-form shell. These creatures lived in the seas between 240 - 65 million years ago, when they became extinct along with the dinosaurs. Ammonites belong to a group of predators known as cephalopods, which includes their living relatives the octopus, squid, cuttlefish and nautilus.

Ammonites were the predators of their time, feeding on most living marine creatures including molluscs, fish and even other cephalopods. By analogy to modern cephalopods, their method of attack probably comprised of silently stalking their prey, then rapidly extending their tentacles to grasp the target. Once caught the prey would be devoured by the ammonite's powerful jaws, located at the base of the tentacles, between the eyes.

This Is How You Play

  1. Cut a long, thin, triangular shape from the side of your paper plate. (enough to create a defined shell opening and leave the rest of the shell rounded)
  2. Use markers and draw a spiral line from shell opening to center. This will define the shape of your "shell".
  3. Paint shell body with water color paints, and dry. Using tape, staples or glue, attach various strips of yarn to shell opening, these are the ammonite's tentacles.


Variations for Younger Students

  • Some parts of assembly could be too involved, prepare base of Ammonite ahead of time. They can then go straight to decorating the "shell".


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