FossilsFossils are fascinating to study but as they form over so many years they can be quite difficult for children to grasp.

BBC Bitesize – brings together a set of animations showing how fossils are formed, explaining what we can learn from them and what is soil made from. These are really child friendly, they span the millennia in just a few seconds but is so clear they will be useful to anyone at any age looking at fossils.

The same site offers further class clips, many of which are not related to fossil forming; however, the dinosaur footprint one and the ones about rocks may be very interesting, depending on the topic focus.

They offer:

  • Limestone and its usage
  • Rocks
  • The effect of weather on rocks
  • The formation of caves
  • What is granite?
  • What is soil?

The Eden Project – has created a set of two lessons for Key Stage Two, with a focus on science:

“Ever wondered what it might be like to be a fossil hunter? How would you excavate a fossil without damaging it and how would you identify the fossil? How is a fossil formed? In this practical science activity your students create their own fossils encased within a sedimentary rock and then have the responsibility of carefully excavating and identifying each other’s work. Has your class got the skills and patience?” (The Eden Project)

The documents included are: The great fossil hunters lesson plan, The great fossil hunters slide show and The Great Fossil Hunters Sample Risk Assessment.

The Oxford University Museum of Natural History – has developed four web pages: Introducing the basics, How do fossils form? What can fossils tell us? and Different types of fossils, with clear images of fossils.

Planet Science – looks at What makes a fossil? It looks, again, at how they are formed. It is for slightly older children talking about molds and casts and tells children where to look for them. The video shared here mentions the Woolly mammoth and insects in amber so it is more advanced.