Independent Living Skills Students Create Replica Fossils and Learn About Our Prehistoric Past

Replica fossils made using the fossil moulds.
Replica fossils made using the fossil moulds.

The Jurassic Coast Trust, in association with Yeovil College, gave Independent Living Skills students the opportunity to create replica fossils using Plaster of Paris on Thursday 25th February.

Special fossil moulds were supplied by Guy Kerr, Jurassic Coast Community Coordinator. This inspired Lecturer Valerie Rowland to make an inclusive and hands on activity for her tutees with learning differences. The group made many different types of replica fossils; including a piece of an ichthyosuar jaw, brittlestars, ammonites and belemnites.

Val works as an Ambassador for the Jurassic Coast Trust and often makes Plaster of Paris fossils for children’s activities in Visitors Centres and alike. “Giving knowledge about our pre-historic past, to children and vulnerable adults, has got to be one of the most precious teaching experiences I have had” said Val who has been a lecturer for more than ten years.

Learning about how a fossil is formed and comparing with real fossils.

Geoff Rowland, also a Jurassic Coast Trust Ambassador, gave an informal talk on Thursday 3rd March to the students all about how the fossils were formed. He demonstrated using this video of an ichthyosaur becoming a the kind of fossil that we might find on the Jurassic Coast today. Geoff then handed round ichthyosaur vertebrae so the students could hold the real thing. He also talked to the group about the do’s and don’t’s of safe fossil hunting when out and about on the coast.

Geoff finished the day by bringing out real fossils found on our wonderful Jurassic coastline. Everyone enjoyed seeing the real thing and comparing them to their own creations.

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