Friday, June 21, 2019

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Preschool STEM: Fossil Hunt

I have a secret to confess. The fossil hunt STEM activity is the project I have been most excited about in the Preschool STEM series

I absolutely adore fossils and dinosaurs. There is a part of me that will forever be about four years old and absolutely in love with anything more than 10,000 years old. And if it makes it over 65 million years--well, anything older than the KT Extinction is more exciting than chocolate (and that's saying a lot)!

When I was a teenager we went to a dinosaur quarry, and I kind of wanted to move right then and become a paleontologist! I wanted to create some of that magic for my preschoolers, especially because the nearest dinosaur quarry that I know of is thousands of miles away.

Happily, we have this very awesome game: Fossil On!

I Laugh-n-Learn sent us this game to review last year, and we have absolutely loved it (you can see some of my thoughts on it HERE on Instagram)!

Anyway, I decided to use these fossils to create a sensory bin that is inspired by a dinosaur quarry!

The set up was incredibly easy! I just buried the fossils in my bean bin and added a couple paintbrushes!

The kids had a great time!

As they "discovered" more fossils, we talked about what they were: there are trilobites, snails, dinosaur bones, crinoids, shark teeth, ammonites, and so much more! (Seriously, I love this can buy it on is my affiliate link:FOSSIL ON!)

I also added in some non-fossilized shells, so the kids could practice discriminating between real fossils and other things.

If you don't want to get the real fossils, you can make a set with salt dough...I have a recipe here where I talk about how to make salt dough "fossils" (specifically coprolites)!  ;)  The advantage to using salt dough fossils is that you can bury them in dirt, sand, or flour without worrying about them getting dirty. I used my bean bin as "soil" because I hate the thought of getting our real fossils dirty! 

Either way, let your kids get inside the bin and explore!

And remember, kids learn more through play than any other way!

How is this activity STEM?  It requires your preschoolers to use science skills (like exploring, predicting, hypothesizing, experimenting, analyzing, and communicating), it lets them experiment with science concepts (like fossils), it allows them to use technology/tools (paintbrushes), it requires them to engineer/design an exploration plan, and allows them to use math concepts (like a one-to-one relationship, comparing and contrasting textures, counting, pouring, size comparisons, and more).

It's the perfect dinosaur quarry...with a whole set of prehistoric fossils! And all in an easy-to-pull out sensory bin...or should I say STEM bin?!  :D  

Do you love preschool STEM? Do you want to learn more about it? This June I am featuring a Preschool STEM series that includes a fantastic introduction to preschool STEM and nine STEM activities, projects, or challenges that are appropriate for preschoolers! This is the first one--I would LOVE to have you join in and share your own experiences as we move through the next two weeks! You can find the landing page with links to all the activities HERE!  You can also join my STEM Activities & Projects for Kids Facebook Group HERE for more STEM-inspired conversations!

Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

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