Home-work: Educational Activities from the NYSM that You Can Do from Home!

Fun with Fossils!

Do you love fossils? We have some really amazing fossils at the New York State Museum! Since 1842, thousands of specimens have been collected, studied, and housed at the museum. These fossils are used to identify the ages of the rocks they are found in, for reconstructing ancient environments, and to understand the functions and evolutionary relationships of the organisms themselves. The collection contains about 17,000 fossils that have been already studied and 600,000 specimens that can be used for future work. There are prehistoric invertebrate fossils of animals without a backbone, paleobotany or plant fossils, and vertebrate paleontology, which include specimens like our ice age animals.

Make your own fossil concretions at home using this salt dough recipe! Once they are made your kids can get to work opening up and examining these fossils. It’s fun to find a surprise inside the rocks and they can see the imprint that was left behind.

2 Cup Flour, 1 Cup Salt, 1 Cup Coffee Grounds, 1 Cup Water, and you will need something to hide inside like a plastic toy dinosaur or seashell.

Instructions: In a large bowl combine all the ingredients; stir together until the dough has formed. Assemble your fossil concretion and hide something inside (dinosaur, shell). Leave to air dry for 2-3 days or you can bake in the oven at low temp of 200°F for 4 hours.

Do you want to learn more about fossils and what they can tell us about the past? Here are some past Facebook Live Field Trips to the NYSM that featured fossils!
A Closer Look at the Cohoes Mastodon: https://youtu.be/Xyjwz2UYWtU
Ice Age Exploration: https://youtu.be/i39JeOW5Ucg
Fossil or Fake: https://youtu.be/GT3p9SQoKUU