Modelling Fossil Formation

You will need:

  • Brown sugar (about 500 g)
  • Dinosaur toy figures or other animal to figures (plastic or wood, washed and dried)
  • 1 White chocolate bar (cooking chocolate works best)
  • Microwave
  • 2 Table spoons
  • Baking pan
  • Heat proof bowl, e.g. glass or ceramic
  • Brush (not necessary, but helpful)

What to do:

  1. Pour the brown sugar into the baking pan. Use the back of the spoon to pat it down.
  2. Arrange your dinosaur or animal toys over the brown sugar. Gently press each toy down to make a dent in the brown sugar. Then remove the toys.
  3. Break the white chocolate bar into small pieces and place them in the heat proof bowl.
  4. Microwave the chocolate in the bowl for 30 seconds and then stir. Continue microwaving for 20 seconds at a time stirring after each time until the white chocolate is completely molten.
  5. Slowly pour the molten white chocolate into the dents in the brown sugar. Then place in the fridge for 1 hour.
  6. When the white chocolate has hardened, carefully dig each fossil out of the brown sugar with a spoon.
  7. Carefully clean most of the brown sugar off using water and your fingers. If you have a brush you can use it to remove the sugar. Your fossils are edible.

Background

Fossils are remains of organisms that lived a long time ago. This experiment is a model for fossil formation. The brown sugar represents soft soil or sediment where we can often find the imprints of creatures, for example foot prints.

The molten hot chocolate represents hot lava which fills empty spaces left by dead, buried organisms. The lava cools and finally forms rock fossils, showing us an image of the dead creature.

You can watch a video of this experiment here:

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