Salt Dough Fossils, Research Journals, and More to Investigate Dinosaurs!

Dinosaurs are a HUGE deal right now with the kids. The new blockbuster hit Jurassic World was the new #1 movie at the box office during its opening weekend not too long ago. Are your kids excited about dinosaurs? Here is a fun idea that is both fun AND educational!

First, you’ll need to create the salt dough. You’ll need:

  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup water

(This will make enough for about 2 students).

First, sift the salt and flour together. Then slowly stir in the water. Knead the dough for at least 5 minutes. The longer you knead it, the smoother it will be!

Have the kids shape the dough into the shapes of the dinosaur they have been researching. You can find pictures in books or on the internet for students to refer to! Students can use a pen or pencil to make holes in the skull where they are needed.

You can have students do the skull, an arm, and a leg. You could even have the students do the whole skeleton if they want to! It’s all up to you and your students! This is the fun part. 🙂

You can let these air dry for several days. This is easiest for a full class. But, if you’re simply doing these at home with your kids, pop them in the oven at 200* F for an hour or two to dry (depending on how thick the student creates their fossils!)

Once they are dry, voila! You have some awesome looking fossils! My husband had an awesome idea to paint them with antiquing as well. Unfortunately, he came up with the idea AFTER I’d already tossed this lovely creation. (Because of course, as a mom, I can’t keep every craft around the house forever!) I’ll post a picture if I ever get around to doing so! If anyone else tries the antiquing paint, I’d love to see how it turned out. 😉

This fun activity is one of the culminating projects in my Dinosaur Research Unit! In this unit, students will learn about the text features of informational text and how to use them. The unit includes a fun, color filled version as well as the black and white. I printed the black and white because, well, we still need to get a color printer. It’s on the list.

Then, students will read informational text about dinosaurs, choose a dinosaur to research, and answer one question each day in their Research Journal. (A total of 19 writing prompts are included). The research journal guides the students step by step as they research their dinosaur. It is a great way to make even the students who are intimidated by informational text feel comfortable reading it and have fun doing so!

As a culminating project, students will create salt dough fossils of their dinosaur and write a report about the dinosaur using their research. They will also do an informal oral report about their dinosaur. And last, but certainly not least, the students will share their fossils at the Dinosaur Fair that other classes and parents will be invited to!

It also includes a unit calendar, grading rubric, detailed lesson plans, dinosaur cards (to assign students to a dinosaur), and ALL pages in both color and black and white! Check it out on Teachers pay Teachers today! Your students will thank you! 🙂

Let me know if you try this activity at home or in your classroom! I’d love to hear all about it in the comments! 🙂

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