Use the interactive activity on this page to teach your family about fossils and sediment layers.
Note that with this kind of fossil, 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.
Photograph by: Jennifer Kriske
What you’ll need:
- Clear cups or bowls
- Edible baking ingredients
- Edible snack foods
- Transparent tape
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.