Scientists use fossils to discover information about the plants and animals that lived a long time ago. In this activity, children learn about plant fossils, and how their markings and clues provide evidence of plants and animals that are now extinct. Plant fossils offer important insights into the evolutionary history of plant life and where our food comes from.
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What to do
1. Talk together about what fossils are and how they’re formed.
2. Collect some natural materials from the garden (like leaves, sticks and pebbles).
3. Knead the clay and roll it with a rolling pin until it is flat.
4. Place the natural materials on top of the clay and gently press them into the clay using your hands or a rolling pin.
5. Carefully peel the materials off of the clay. Observe the ‘fossil’ – what does it tell us about the plant? Does it look like any other plant?
6. Leave the clay somewhere safe to dry.
7. To make the ‘fossil’ water-resistant, apply a coat of clear varnish or sealant to the air-dry clay.