In this quick and inexpensive tutorial, we are going to show you how to make Conchologists Classroom Excavations. These excavations are super easy to make and are a great teaching resource to include in your next lesson or discussion about seashells, the ocean, marine biology, and more.


Be sure to check out our free Digital Dig teaching resource. Students answer trivia and earn points they can redeem for free rocks, minerals, fossils, seashells, excavation kits and more!





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.

2 oz condiments cups and lids – Make sure you have 1 set of cups and lids for each student.

Tray – Make sure the tray or cookie sheet is big enough to hold a cup for each student. This will make moving the excavations easier.

Assorted small and medium sized seashells.


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  1. Arrange the condiment cups on the tray making sure you have one for each student. You may want to make a couple extra excavations.
  2. Place some seashells in each 2oz cup.
  3. Mix 3 cups sand with 1 cup Plaster of Paris.
  4. Add 1 cup of water and mix until you have a pancake batter consistency.
  5. Pour the mixture over the seashells.
  6. Gently tap the sides on the tray to shake the condiment cups. This will settle the mixture down, around, and under the seashells. Some seashells may try and float. Allow the excavations to set for several minutes and push the floating seashells back below the surface.
  7. Place the Conchologists Classroom Excavations in front of a fan overnight until they are completely dry.
  8. Place a lid on each excavation.
  9. Distribute the excavations, excavation tools, and safety goggles to the students and have fun watching them dig in and discover the awesome rocks you have hidden inside.


Looking for seashell and ocean related teaching resources? Check out our Digital Dig by Grade Level. Students will earn real scientific specimens while they learn!