Dinos | Chocolate Chip Cookie Excavation

Paleontologists dig up and study fossils of plants and animals, such as dinosaurs.  A paleontologist’s job is a hard and time consuming one.  It’s very hard to dig up dinosaur fossils without damaging them.  Paleontologists use various tools, such as shovels, picks and brushes to excavate (fancy word for “dig up”) fossils.

Now it’s your turn to be a paleontologist!  Pretend the chocolate chips in your cookie are fossils and carefully dig them out with your toothpick.

  • discovering
  • moving-fine

What you need: Chocolate chip cookies (homemade or storebought), toothpick or craft pick

What you do:

  1. Imagine your cookie is the earth and the chocolate chips are dinosaur bones. Using your toothpick or craft pick, carefully dig out each chocolate chip, trying not to break the chip or your pick.
  2. You might try scraping around the sides of the chip before digging or prying it out.
  3. See how many "fossils" you can recover. Then feel free to gobble them up!

Questions to explore:

  • Why do you think paleontologists need different types of tools, like shovels, brushes and even tiny picks, to dig up fossils?
  • Why do you think people are interested in discovering fossils? What can we learn from them?
  • What do you think about the job of a paleontologist?

Why it works (or Other Variations to try)

  • Try racing against a partner -- see who can recover the most "fossils" in a certain amount of time.