In this quick and inexpensive tutorial, we are going to show you how to make Seashell Classroom Search 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 Seashell Search 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.


Marvels of the Seashore: Fun Facts about Seashells!


Fun Facts about Seashells:

  1. Seashells are the protective outer coverings of marine animals called mollusks, such as snails, clams, and oysters.

  2. Seashells come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, ranging from smooth and shiny to textured and patterned.

  3. The intricate designs on seashells are formed by layers of calcium carbonate, which the mollusks produce to protect their soft bodies.

  4. Seashells can be found on sandy beaches, rocky shores, and even in deeper ocean waters.

  5. Some seashells, like conch shells, produce a beautiful sound when blown into, creating a natural musical instrument.

  6. Seashells serve as homes for small marine creatures, providing them protection from predators and harsh environmental conditions.

  7. The largest seashell in the world is the giant clam, which can grow up to four feet long and weigh over 500 pounds!

  8. Seashells have been used by humans throughout history for various purposes, including jewelry, tools, and decoration.

  9. Seashell collecting, also known as conchology, is a popular hobby for many beach enthusiasts and nature lovers.

  10. Seashells can serve as clues to identify different species of mollusks and provide insights into the biodiversity of marine ecosystems.

  11. Some seashells have unique properties, such as the abalone shell, which displays iridescent colors like a rainbow.

  12. The practice of listening to the sound of seashells held up to the ear is a fun way to experience the echo of ocean waves, although it is actually the sound of blood circulating in our ears!

Remember, seashells are not only beautiful treasures from the sea but also fascinating reminders of the diverse marine life that inhabits our oceans!



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



Question 1: What are seashells made of? A) Sand B) Coral C) Calcium carbonate D) Plastic

Correct answer: C) Calcium carbonate

Question 2: Which seashell is known for producing a beautiful sound when blown into? A) Conch shell B) Scallop shell C) Nautilus shell D) Abalone shell

Correct answer: A) Conch shell

Question 3: What is the purpose of seashells for marine animals? A) To provide camouflage B) To attract mates C) To protect their soft bodies D) To store food

Correct answer: C) To protect their soft bodies