Dinosaur Month in Genius Words: Meet Fossil Finder Sue Hendrickson and Make Your Own Salt Dough Fossils
Genius content refreshes every month! This month, dino-“soar” through games, Geniuses, and activities involving these awesome prehistoric creatures.
We’ve compiled limited-time game updates, real-life genius stories, and educator-approved activities into interactive printables, designed to enhance your kids’ learning. Access this week’s printable by clicking the button below:
In Osmo Words, boogie through a dance party at the Dinosaur Museum, tapping on each object to learn more. Only available this month!
Genius Spotlight: Sue Hendrickson
The world’s most famous fossil—”Sue the T. rex”—is named after a very important person: the woman who discovered it!
Sue Hendrickson had a passion for finding things. For years she mined amber, a yellow-ish material that oozes out of trees and hardens, often trapping insects inside. Sue became an expert at identifying bug fossils, giving any she found to scientists (like three perfect 23-million-year-old butterflies!).
On a fossil-finding trip to South Dakota, Sue noticed six bones sticking out the side of a cliff. They belonged to a 67-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex.
It took Sue’s team more than two weeks to get all the T. rex bones out of the cliff. That’s when they learned this wasn’t just any T. rex fossil; it was the largest ever discovered, standing at 40 feet long and 13 feet tall. It was also the most complete, with 90% of its bones found.
“Sue the T. rex” was purchased for $8.4 million by Chicago’s Field Museum. 12 museum workers spent 30,000 hours preparing the bones for display. You can see the famous “Sue” yourself if you’re ever in Chicago!
Real-World Activity: Make Your Own Salt Dough Fossils
Try this educator-approved activity at home. This week’s printable (button above) has instructions with photos!
Since you probably don’t have T. rex bones sticking out of your backyard for exploring, make your own “fossils” with salt dough!
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup salt
- ¾ cup water
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Optional: small dinosaur or figurine toys
- In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, and ¾ cup water until a dough forms. Add more flour or water if needed.
- Cover your baking sheet with parchment.
- Break off small chunks of dough, flattening them into cookie-shaped mounds on the baking sheet.
- Use toys or your fingers to press a “fossil” print onto each mound.
- When you’re done, bake the mounds at 200 degrees until dry. This could take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours.