In this quick and inexpensive tutorial, we are going to show you how to make an Easy Petrified Wood Excavation. These excavations are super easy to make and are a great teaching resource to include in your next lesson or discussion about petrified wood, fossils, 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.

Empty Altoids Tin

Petrified wood - You can buy chunks of rough petrified wood or for a little more money you can get beautifully tumbled pieces. 


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  1. Place some petrified wood 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 petrified wood.
  5. Place the Easy Petrified Wood 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 petrified wood you have hidden inside.


Petrified Wood Wonders: Fossilized Forests and Timeless Marvels!

Fun Facts about Petrified Wood:

  1. Petrified wood is the result of trees that lived millions of years ago and turned into stone through a process called fossilization.

  2. It begins when trees get buried under layers of sediment, protecting them from decay and allowing minerals to replace the organic matter over time.

  3. The minerals that replace the wood's organic material include quartz, agate, and jasper, giving petrified wood its unique colors and patterns.

  4. Petrified wood can be found in various hues, such as red, orange, yellow, blue, and even rainbow-like patterns, creating a stunning display of natural artistry.

  5. These fossilized trees can have detailed preservation, showing intricate wood grain patterns and even the growth rings that provide clues about their age.

  6. Petrified wood is exceptionally hard and can be polished to a high shine, making it a popular material for jewelry, sculptures, and decorative items.

  7. Some petrified wood specimens are so well-preserved that scientists can study the tree's cellular structure, gaining insights into ancient forests and climate.

  8. Famous petrified forests, such as the one in Arizona's Petrified Forest National Park, offer visitors a glimpse into the past and the opportunity to see large petrified tree trunks.

  9. Petrified wood can sometimes contain fossils of ancient insects or even dinosaur bones, providing a unique window into prehistoric life.

  10. The process of petrification takes millions of years, slowly transforming the once-living trees into beautiful stone relics that tell the story of Earth's ancient forests.

  11. Each piece of petrified wood is like a time capsule, preserving a piece of our planet's natural history and reminding us of the remarkable forces that shape our world.

  12. Petrified wood is a testament to the enduring power of nature, transforming something as delicate as wood into stone that lasts for millions of years.

Remember, petrified wood unveils the secrets of ancient forests and offers us a glimpse into the distant past, where trees turned to stone and nature's wonders were preserved for us to marvel at!


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Question 1: What process transforms trees into petrified wood? A) Decomposition B) Fossilization C) Erosion D) Photosynthesis

Correct answer: B) Fossilization

Question 2: What minerals replace the organic material in petrified wood? A) Calcite and gypsum B) Quartz and agate C) Feldspar and mica D) Hematite and magnetite

Correct answer: B) Quartz and agate

Question 3: What can be found preserved within some petrified wood specimens? A) Fossilized fish B) Ancient bird feathers C) Dinosaur bones D) Shark teeth

Correct answer: C) Dinosaur bones