Index Fossils Lab




This hands-on Index Fossils Lab tasks students with differentiating between index fossils and other fossils through the use of everyday objects. By incorporating common items into the learning process, students not only refine their identification skills but also develop a practical understanding of the significance of index fossils in stratigraphy and the reconstruction of Earth’s past environments.



  • Student Lab
  • Instructor Answer Key



  • newspaper
  • objects to use in making trace fossils (3)
  • clay
  • container, at least 25 cm X 20 cm X 15 cm (or approximately a shoe-box size)
  • varieties of “soil” (3)
  • sand
  • potting soil
  • pea gravel
  • mulch
  • shredded dried leaves
  • fresh grass cuttings
  • small shovel
  • scoop


Grade Levels: 8th – 12th
Total Pages: 14
Teaching Duration: 60 Minutes


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