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BonznStonz: Fossils and Minerals
c/o Michael R. Fellenz
Irving, New York

Ok people here are some items which should help your students get involved when teaching Earth Sciences and other related. We have numerous items listed on this page that should help to make your job easier and your students learning more interesting And finally, I'd like to thank both Kent and Paul from Rochester who have helped me introduce this first Classroom Fossil DigŠ to you.

Classroom Fossil DigŠ

Everything is sold out until April of next year.Please place your order early

Bring the Quarry to Classroom

How often have you thought about taking your students fossil collecting only to cancel because of bad weather, no accessible fossil sites or transportation or insurance liabilities? The most interestng and fun way to learn about fossils is by digging for fossils. Now you can offer ALL your students the exciting opportunity to have hands-on experience in an actual fossil dig at your school. Classroom Fossil DigŠ allows you and your class the opportunity to dig for fossils and not even leave the classroom. With the proper planning guiding and supervision, the Classroom Fossil DigŠ allows you to offer any age children the opportunity to dig for fossils.

They wont want to stop!

Your students will have the opportunity to split rock and discover the fossilized remains of Corals, Trilobites, Clams, Bryozoan and /or many other marine creatures that lived in the seas that once covered Western New York.

Western NY Silurian Fossils

Bulk pieces of fossil rich rock from the 400 Million year old Middle Silurian Rochester Shale will be provided in boxes for your students. Each box contains 45-50lbs. (recommended for 4-6 students) of fossil rich shale. Included with each order is a guide to the fossils that can be found, a description of the geologic setting of the Rochester Shale and helpful suggestions for the teacher to insure this experience runs smoothly. A minimum order of a Classroom Fossil DigŠ is 4 boxes for $32.00. Each additional box of bulk rock is $8.00 and there is no limit to the number of extra boxes. There is a minimum delivery charge of $20.00 and an extra delivery charge of $.30 per mile outside Erie County, NY. Shipping may be arranged with advance notice of the excercise.Because of the seasonal nature of collecting in Western NY, please place you order by October 25th. Allow 2 -3 weeks for delivery.


The Geologic Setting

410 Million years ago during the Silurian period of geologic time, a vast sea covered Eastern North America. A long island mass was east of the sea stretching from Maine to Georgia.

During the Silurian, North America was situated along the equator with New Your State being 18° south latitude. As a result of this location the vast sea that covered New Your was warm and tropical. Conditions were ideal for marine life, which thrived in the warm shallow waters.

Periodically tropical storms (hurricanes) would move across the region and disturb portions of the sediments (clay and silt) on the sea bottom . This action produced muddy clouds of sediment that would roll across the sea floor smothering the bottom (the same type of thing can be seen in a mud puddle when it is riled up).

The smothering was fatal to the creatures that lived on the sea bottom. Unable to escape, they were rapidly buried alive, ensuring their fate to be the fossils we find today preserved in the rock. This process would repeat itself many times as indicated by to layers of fossils within the rock.

The rock used in the Classroom Fossil DigŠ is from one of these storm generated mud deposits. The fossil guide illustrations show the various types of complete and incomplete fossils that might be found from within the rocks. Good hunting.

Additional Information

The sediments that make up the Rochester shale Formation were deposited across 6 states and Canada Today the Rochester Shale is exposed sporadically across New York State along a narrow band at the northern edge of Silurian outcrop. The pieces of Rochester Shale used in the Classroom Dig come from a 9 1/2-acre quarry exposure in Middleport, NY. The quarry is the largest private fossil recovery operation in the Eastern United States.

Activity Guide

The following information is to aid the teacher in conducting this activity for maximum success.

1. Safety 1st. Anytime rocks are struck with a hammer, chips will fly off the rocks. To prevent the chance of a rock chip flying into a student's eye, Always wear eye protection. The high school Chemistry Dept. is a good source for safety glasses.

2. Splitting rock. Chances are you will be letting students split rock using hammers. Almost any type of hammer will work at breaking up the rock. It is strongly recommended that you first demonstrate proper use of a hammer when splitting rock. Show and describe the bedding (layering) of the rock. The bedding (layering) characteristics are still present after the sediment has become rock. It becomes a plain of weakness in the rock which allows the rock to split apart.

3. Dress for activity. Inform your students ahead of time to wear clothes they don't mind getting dirty. If you are going outside, dress appropriately for the weather.

4. Collecting boxes. Some type of box will be needed for the fossil specimens. Students may want to use the pop flats from the grocery store, those are an ideal size. Ask for assistance at the service desk of your local supermarket of obtaining boxes.

5. Time. Don't try to rush through this activity in 1 42-minute period. Students will need time to carefully split the rock apart. Also encourage them to take the time and look critically for various fossils, some are very small. Two maybe even 3-class periods may be needed to go through the boxes of rock. The interest level and attention span of your students will be an indication of how much time you want to spend on the activity.

6. Where to split the rock. You must choose a location where you want your students to do this activity. Here are some points to consider.


a. Going outside is preferred,however you will have to plan around the weather.

b. Plan how you will get the boxes of rock to the place you've chosen.

c. Make sure you have plenty of room for all your students to work to prevent being hit by flying chips of rock and swinging hammers.

d. Is there an area you could leave the rock when you're through? Otherwise you'll have to clean up the scrap rock.

e. A location in your classroom will be needed for storage of the student specimen boxes.


a. This activity can also be done inside, However special consideration must be taken into account.

b. You may want to use some type of floor protection to prevent damage to the classroom floor.

c. Noise of pounding on rocks may disturb neighboring classes.

d. Some type of container to put scrap rock in will be needed.

e. Another location in your school may be more suitable than your classroom.

7. After the dig. Now that the fossils have been collected it's time for the students to identify what they have found. Many fossils will only be pieces of the once living animals. Students must engage deductive reasoning skill to figure out what part and of what animal they have. As a final activity, the class or classes could combine information of what they found to get a broader picture of what animals were living together. Data can even be collected in terms of the number of each species that was found which could then be graphed to show a comparison of population.

Finally, let your students keep the fossils they found and encourage them to show their parents and friends. Just maybe you will have started a student or two in a life long interest or future career in Paleontology. The ability to look at a fossil and let your mind race across the separation of hundreds of millions of years and link up to the once living animal and understand its life is truly a mind awakening experience.


shark teeth micro sandsshark teeth booksI have the opportunity to talk to numerous teachers about teaching Earth Science students in the classroom. This an inexpensive and informative way to teach students about collecting and identifying fossils without having to leave the classroom. These bags weigh approximately lbs and contain Shark Teeth micro-sands from Aurora, NC. They are found in the Yorktown Formation and are from the Pleistocene Age. Cost per bag is only $2.50 which normally will occupy 4 students. It teaches your students fossil collecting and identification of the fossils found within the bags. It teaches students that not all fossils are large. Most of the fossils found in these bags are sharks teeth, stingray teeth, dorsal fin spines and fish dung. Numerous pices are found in these rich bags. Teachers identification books (2 are needed) cost only $6.00 each. They can be used over and over and copied for use by your students. I have a limited supply of this at this moment and will not be resupplied until the spring. Any questions can be directed to myself at BonznStonz@aol.com.

They wont want to stop!

More material is going to added here within the next week. Please keep checking the pages for more Teacher related materials. Thanks

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Our guarantee is this, cut and dry

If for any reason your not satisfied, with the specimen you've purchased, please return it in it's original condition within 30 days for a complete refund. Your money will be refunded upon receipt of the specimen. In no way do we want to lose the respect or our customers. We value your patronage too much.

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