In this quick and inexpensive tutorial, we are going to show you how to make Inexpensive Classroom Excavations. These excavations are super easy to make and are a great teaching resource to include in your next lesson or discussion about rocks, minerals, geology, 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.

Rocks and minerals – You can buy assorted bags of rocks and minerals. You can also find free rocks that are just as pretty as purchased ones to use in the excavations.


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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 rocks 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 rocks.
  6. Gently tap the sides on the tray to shake the condiment cups. This will settle the mixture down, around, and under the rocks.
  7. Place the Inexpensive 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 geology and Earth Science related teaching resources? Check out our Digital Dig by Grade and Subject. Students will earn real scientific specimens while they learn!