Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dinosaur Unit: Making Salt Dough Fossils and Green Screen Movies

All kiddos love dinosaurs, so this week is especially fun.  We are using salt dough to make our own fossils.

Here is a recipe for the salt dough, courtesy of

Salt dough recipe

- 1 cup of salt
- 2 cups of flour
3/4 to 1 cup of lukewarm water (the amount of water depends on relative humidity).

Mix the salt and flour together in a salad bowl, using a wooden spatula. Then add the water until a large ball has formed. Knead at length on a lightly floured work surface (somewhere smooth and easy to clean). The quality of dough you finish with will depend on the time spent on kneading.
Ready to bake models
 If the dough is sticky (too much water), add a mix in the right proportions of flour and salt.
You can also use coarser salt : mix it with water to dissolve it.

*Note: I add coffee grounds to age the mixture and to give it a brown color.

Next, we make some impressions by imprinting toy dinosaurs feet into the dough.  I have also let them use seashells (get a big bag of them at Walmart for under $5 in the craft section) for texture.  We let it sit for a long time until it is completely hard.  I would recommend doing this sometime early in the week.

Also be sure to check out Mrs. Jumps' Amazing Dinosaur Unit here.

We wrote adjectives for dinos, created a story about what it would be like to find a fossil (those drawings crack me up!) and read every dino book I can find.  I also borrow giant dino toys from my teaching buddy down in K (Can you tell she has two boys?).  :)  Adding posters and dinosaurs everywhere really adds to student interest and creates alot of buzz.

Green Screen Movies

We are going to attempt our first ever green screen movie this week! By placing simple (lime) green fabric behind the students, you can insert any background (pictures or film) when editing it on the computer.  I have made lots of flip camera movies, but this will be my first attempt with the green screen.  I'm very excited!  Beth Newingham explains this entire process in great deal in her blog on Scholastic Top Teaching.
The theme for our movie is "Old times compared to Modern times".  I'm going to kinda see where this takes us, but I think I may prod them in the direction of transportation and the home.  These are two areas where it would be very easy to picture out modern day influences and they could do alot with it.

We will also be doing many activities from Mrs. Patton's Long Ago And Today Unit FREE.  This is a 3 part unit, and it has some amazing ideas!
You can even watch an animation from Proctor and Gamble of The History of Laundry which is very fascinating.

 Have you used a videos in your class before?  Also, I'm very open to more dino-related activities!  :)  Have a great week!


Veronica Chase

Wow! How cool is this?! I'm making a note to share a link to this activity from your blog later. I bet the kids loved it!

Deedee Wills

Yay! Thanks Ash! Looks super cute and right up my alley. I'll let you know how they turn out.

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