In this quick and inexpensive tutorial, we are going to show you how to make an Amazing Ammonite Excavation. These excavations are super easy to make and are a great teaching resource to include in your next lesson or discussion about fossils, ammonites, paleontology, and more.


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Plaster of Paris


Mixing Bowl

Wooden spoon

Measuring cups

Popsicle sticks – Popsicle sticks are inexpensive, readily available, and make great excavation tools.

Safety goggles or glasses – You we need to provide or borrow a set for each student.

Optional – Brushes and magnifying glasses.

Ammonites - You can buy rough specimens online inexpensively. 

Altoids tin


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  1. Place the ammonites in the tin.
  2. Mix 1 cups sand with 1/3 cup Plaster of Paris.
  3. Add 1/3 cup of water and mix until you have a pancake batter consistency.
  4. Pour the mixture over the ammonites.
  5. Place the Amazing Ammonite Excavation in front of a fan overnight until it is completely dry.
  6. Distribute the excavation, excavation tools, and safety goggles to your Excavating Adventurer and have fun watching them dig in and discover the awesome ammonites you have hidden inside.


Ammonites: Spiraled Shells and Ancient Secrets Unveiled!

Fun Facts about Ammonites:

  1. Ammonites were prehistoric marine creatures that lived in the oceans during the time of dinosaurs, around 240 to 65 million years ago.

  2. They had unique spiral-shaped shells that resembled tightly coiled rams' horns or nautilus shells, with intricate patterns and ridges.

  3. Ammonite shells were made of calcium carbonate, the same material found in seashells today.

  4. Ammonites ranged in size from as small as a few centimeters to over 6 feet (1.8 meters) in diameter, making them one of the largest-known mollusks of their time.

  5. They were excellent swimmers and propelled themselves through the water using jet propulsion, expelling water from their bodies to move forward.

  6. Ammonites were not actually ammonites at all; they were cephalopods, distant relatives of squids and octopuses.

  7. These ancient creatures had tentacles and a beak-like mouth, which they used to capture and consume small fish and other marine organisms.

  8. Ammonites existed in a wide range of colors, including shades of brown, gray, and even iridescent hues, although the vibrant colors have faded over time.

  9. Fossilized ammonites are abundant and can be found in various parts of the world, particularly in sedimentary rock formations.

  10. The shells of ammonites were divided into chambers separated by walls called septa. As the ammonite grew, it would create new chambers, leaving behind a spiral pattern.

  11. Ammonites went extinct around the same time as the dinosaurs, during a mass extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous Period.

  12. The study of ammonite fossils has provided scientists with valuable information about Earth's ancient oceans, climate, and the evolution of life.

Remember, ammonites are captivating fossils that unlock the mysteries of the past, allowing us to journey back in time and explore the ancient seas!


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Question 1: Ammonites were creatures that lived in which environment? A) Rainforests B) Deserts C) Oceans D) Mountains

Correct answer: C) Oceans

Question 2: What were ammonite shells made of? A) Calcium carbonate B) Silica C) Iron oxide D) Carbon dioxide

Correct answer: A) Calcium carbonate

Question 3: How did ammonites move through the water? A) By walking on the ocean floor B) By flying above the water surface C) By jet propulsion D) By using fins for swimming

Correct answer: C) By jet propulsion