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Program Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure

  • 1. Look at the illustrations to see one way a fossil forms.
    Look at the color illustrations to learn why some fossils are found in sediment layers. The newest layers are on the top and the oldest layers are on the bottom. Scientists study these layers to determine the age of the rock and the fossils within. You’re going to make an edible model of fossils found in sediment layers!

    2. Draw your model.
    Make a drawing of your cup or bowl on a piece of paper. Add lines to indicate “sediment layers.” If you need help, look at the black-and-white illustration for clues.

    3. Label your drawing.
    Label the top layer “newest” and the bottom layer “oldest.” Draw and label some “sea creatures” in each layer.

    4. Gather your ingredients.
    Plan the ingredients you will use to represent the sediment layers and sea creatures. For the sea creatures, you can use edible snacks such as raisins, chocolate candies, gummy candies, vanilla wafers, hard candies, or fish-shaped fruit snacks. For the sediment layers, you can use edible ingredients such as coconut flakes, whipped cream, pudding, chilled gelatin, crushed cookies, and decorating sprinkles.

    5. Prepare your fossils.
    Now you are ready to build your model! Use your drawing as a guide. Make animals from selected ingredients. For example, add food coloring to vanilla wafers to represent an ammonite or shark tooth. Cut fish-shaped fruit snacks into the shapes of prehistoric sea creatures.

    6. Build your model.
    In your bowl or cup, spread a layer of sediment ingredients and add some sea creatures. Then repeat, using different materials for each layer.

    7. Enjoy your tasty treat!
    Eat the model, noticing the different layers and where you find the fossils within them.

  • Materials You Provide

    • Clear cups or bowls
    • Edible baking ingredients
    • Edible snack foods
    • Markers
    • Paper
    • Pencils
    • Scissors
    • Spoons
    • Transparent tape

    Required Technology

    • Internet Access: Optional
    • Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, Projector

    Recommended Prior Activities

    • None
  • Background Information

    Scientists use models to help them understand natural processes.


    Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    fossil Noun

    remnant, impression, or trace of an ancient organism.

    Encyclopedic Entry: fossil


National Science Foundation