Fossil Boxes

Fossil Box

The Fossil Box Project

Creating boxes of fossils for educational use in the UK.

The Boxes

With 30 fossils in each box, it’s large enough for a typical class size.

Each box contains two insert trays, which include:

  • 12 fossils of different types
  • 2 modern equivalents (bivalve and gastropod) to allow the children to compare and contrast between the fossil and the modern version
  • A trace fossil
  • Laminated pictures of each fossil and a text description, including its type and age

The boxes used for the Fossil Boxes are 4-litre boxes that are made by The Really Useful Company.  They are commonly used in schools, and are robust enough for school life.

Fossil Box

The Fossils

  • All fossils used are common and from the UK. This makes the project sustainable and everything in the box can be found by the children themselves

  • Several of the fossils are partial or incomplete, which again is consistent with the children’s own likely ‘found-fossil’ experience

  • Most of the fossils have been donated from collectors across the UK (from their own collections), which keeps the box cost down

  • All the fossil types in the box come from more than one location and from different geological epochs

Echinoid
Belemnite

Fossil Box Contents

What’s in the Box?

Each box contains laminated sheets for teachers and students to improve the use of the fossils in the classroom 

  • A list of the fossil types used, their age and location around the UK
  • Information about fossils and how they are made
  • Where to find fossils, what to look for, and health & safety in collecting
  • A geological map of the UK, showing age of rocks and typical fossils found at each epoch
  • Links to groups running UK-based family trips
  • Teacher ice-breaker questions and tasks
  • Year 3 lesson plan suggestions
  • Year 6 lesson plan suggestions
  • Introduction to evolution
  • Britain’s journey from the south pole
  • Careers page, featuring four bios of people working in Earth Sciences

Fossil Box for Special Educational Needs

This version of the Fossil Box contains a smaller number of larger more tactile fossils suitable for young people with multiple learning difficulties.

Fossil Box designed for SEN use
Fossil Box designed for SEN use

Click images to enlarge.

Cost

Boxes are supplied at cost (£40 per box) to all educational establishments.

There are three main routes to obtain a box:

  1. A sponsored box, typically the main route for primary schools, which is generally funded by:
    • Caregivers, family and friends of pupils
    • Friends of the School
  2. A directly-purchased box, typically the main route for secondary schools
  3. A free box, funded by fossil sales, donations and grants

Please note, as the project grows, we might expect waiting lists for free boxes to grow.

Priority for the free boxes is given to primary and special schools, so secondary schools may face a longer wait.

Our first grant has now been secured from the Curry Fund which will support the delivery of 50 boxes over the next 12 to 18 months.

Project Progress

The first box was delivered to a Herefordshire primary school in December 2022

We’ve provided boxes to schools across the UK:

  • 39 to primary schools
  • 5 to secondary schools
  • 2 to SEN schools
  • 1 to a specialist school
  • 4 demo boxes and others in stock
  • 2 to educational charities
  • more are scheduled for delivery in the next month or so

Ongoing fossil collection and donations are underway to replenish our supplies of fossils

The Earth Heritage Trust is planning work with geological groups across the UK e.g. to be delivery partners for the project

We plan further grant applications to increase the number of free boxes we can deliver

Locations

Where fossil boxes have been delivered so far:

Central London

1 Box

Isle of Wight

1 Box

Hampshire

1 Box

Oxfordshire

1 Box

Scotland

1 Box

Shropshire

2 Boxes

Somerset

1 Box

Warwickshire

2 Boxes

Wiltshire

3 Boxes

Lancashire

3 Boxes

Nottinghamshire

3 Boxes

Yorkshire

10 Boxes

Herefordshire

7 Boxes

Worcestershire

13 Boxes

Derbyshire

2 Boxes

Kent

2 Boxes

Dorset

1 Box

How Can I Help?

  • If you would like a box for your school, please contact us. If the school is in a fossil-rich area, we can look to include local material in the box
  • If you would like to be involved in the project, we are looking for delivery partner organisations that will help us deliver the project across the UK (or any other support you feel you can offer!)
  • If you live/work in a part of the UK that is fossil-rich, and you’re able to donate fossils, it would be great to include some of your local material in future boxes
  • Please provide feedback on the boxes and tell us what works, what doesn’t, what’s missing, and any other comments
  • Our emphasis is on increasing accessibility, inclusivity, and making the box a better resource. We have two ongoing projects in this space:
    • working with a college for the blind and visually impaired looking to add QR codes onto the boxes
    • a school for young people with moderate to profound and multiple learning difficulties has helped use develop an SEN version of the box