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Mary Anning and Dinosaur Discovery
Women’s history month is a great time to read about women in STEAM, like Mary Anning. Anning was a paleontologist who lived in 18th century. She discovered dinosaur bones that were embedded in the cliffs of Dorset, England. When she wasn’t out digging up and collecting dino bones, she was surviving landslides and collaborating on a new genre of scientific art. She was pretty awesome!
Landslides in Mary’s hometown would often reveal the skeletons of dinosaurs and other fossils, which meant that Mary and other scientists would have to act quickly to remove the whole fossil. Through Mary’s work and collaboration with others, we now know that Dorest was a tropical home to many different types of dinosaurs and plants during prehistoric times.
We can make our own Dino Dig at home, and learn about chemical reactions, during this fun project! As the vinegar reacts to the baking soda mixture, hidden parts of the dinosaur will slowly be revealed.
Small Dinosaur Figurines (or small beads or other plastic items)
Vinegar in cup or small pitcher
Cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
Plastic container or large baking dish
Optional: food coloring
- Mix 1 box of baking soda with 1⁄4 cup water to make a thick paste. You can add a little more water if needed. Add food coloring if desired
- Use baking soda paste to cover dinosaur figurine completely. You can shape the paste with your hands, or use different containers to create square, circular or other shapes to house secret hidden dinos.
- Take shapes and place on cookie sheet. Place in freezer for at least one hour
- Take out frozen shapes and place in baking dish or container.
- Give children vinegar and let them slowly pour over the frozen shapes.
- Continue pouring to reveal hidden dinosaurs.
● Mary Anning(seen at this website https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zd8fv9q/articles/zf6vb82) is wearing very different clothes than a modern paleontologist. Ask children why they think would an 18th century scientist like Anning would wear different clothes than a paleontologist now? Offer to help them dress up like Anning or a modern paleontologist.
● Read this article about a huge block of dinosaur full of dinosaur remains that recently came to Utah
● Anning’s fossils are credited with being the inspiration for the first depiction of deep time, or drawing that imagine how the prehistoric world would have looked. Check out the image here https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Duria_Antiquior.jpg and then have children draw what the prehistoric world might have looked like at your address.