Science project

Fossils and Coal Formation


  • Plant leaves
  • Fern fronds
  • Twigs
  • Sand
  • Plastic container such as shoe box


  1. Pour about 6 inches of water into the container. Spread about 2 inches of fine sand in the bottom.
  2. Drop in twigs, fern fronds, and leaves. Make a prediction of what will happen after a week and a half. Place the container in a ventilated area that will not allow the smell to invade your house!
  3. After a week and a half, record your observation of the container.
  4. Next, pour about 1 inch of sand on top of the rotting matter. What happens? Record your observations.
  5. Carefully pour off the water and allow the material to dry. Observe the layers. Which layer do you predict will eventually turn into coal if given enough time? Allow the container to sit for two or three more days.
  6. Observe the matter again. Record any changes.
  7. Remove a sample of the sediment. Can you find any evidence of the plant life that you originally placed in the container? How is this like the fossils preserved over time on Earth? How are these fossils aiding in coal formation?
Disclaimer and Safety Precautions provides the Science Fair Project Ideas for informational purposes only. does not make any guarantee or representation regarding the Science Fair Project Ideas and is not responsible or liable for any loss or damage, directly or indirectly, caused by your use of such information. By accessing the Science Fair Project Ideas, you waive and renounce any claims against that arise thereof. In addition, your access to's website and Science Fair Project Ideas is covered by's Privacy Policy and site Terms of Use, which include limitations on's liability.

Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items