Friday, June 5, 2009

Dinosaur Dig

The cubscouts in our ward asked Josh to help them do a dinosaur dig for pack meeting like the one he did when he was cubmaster a few years ago. Josh was really excited to do it again and I made sure to take pictures of the process. It's really a cool thing to do, especially if you have little people interested in dinosaurs.

Josh makes a rough sketch of a dinosaur (this year it was a stegosaurus) and then makes a few batches of salt dough, grabs his plaster of paris and plastic wrap and he's ready to get to work making bones. The process takes awhile because it takes time for the bones to set up but in all it isn't that difficult.

Josh uses the salt dough (in this case pink) to make the molds to pour the plaster into. The plastic wrap helps keep the dough from getting sticky and sticking to the bones. Josh roughly follows his sketch and makes impressions in dough to make the bones. He does it in batches and changes the mold as needed. (Pictured are some vertebre.)

The result is a pile of plaster bones. The thicker you make them the less likely they are to break. The biggest threat to breakage is trying to pull them out of the mold too soon. I figure that a broken bone is okay because that's the way you find them in the ground.

The fun part is putting it all together. Our stake has a pavillion and volley ball court on one of the chapels' property. We used the sand in the volleyball court to bury the bones. Josh layed them out first to look like our dinosaur and then you bury them. To hide the evidence of where we put it, Josh tossed on top. Sam and Elijah were very much interested in the whole process from pouring the molds to laying out the dinosaur and covering it up. Sam was off somewhere when it came time to excavate the bones but Elijah was in the middle of all the action.

The cub leaders and Josh brought paint brushes for the kids to use to excavate the bones. It helps them to go slower and be more careful at uncovering the bones and it makes it feel a bit more authentic. It was quite fun to see this hord of kids gathered around a spot in the dirt exclaiming that they had found a bone in the sand and carefully brushing away ll the sand. (Another cool thing is the way the bones look with the sand filling in the little crevase from the plastic wrap. It makes them look old.)

The whole process of uncovering probably took 10 minutes and I think everyone was rather pleased with their work --especially Josh.

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