12 Days of Christmas- Activity 9: Make your Own Animal Prints

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12 Days of Christmas- Activity 9: Make your Own Animal Prints

Yesterday’s activity was to go on a nature walk and discover the animal tracks. Well now you can start a collection of animal prints to remember your animal tracking adventures!

Here’s what you need to make your plaster cast:

• Plaster of Paris (or dental stone)
• a mixing container
• water
• a Popsicle stick
• a paper clip
• a cardboard strip

Instructions:

Once you’ve found your animal track, follow the steps below to make your plaster cast.

Step 1: Carefully remove any twigs or leaves that may have fallen into the track.

TIP: Do not attempt to remove sticks or leaves that are compressed into the track. Removing these will damage the track. You can remove them from the plaster later.

Step 2: Make a “collar” from the strip of cardboard, and fit it around the track. Fasten it with a paper clip.

TIP: Gently press the strip into the surrounding soil so the plaster will not run out from under it when poured.

Step 3: Mix up some plaster of Paris with the water in the paper cup, stirring until smooth with the Popsicle stick. Use about two parts plaster to one part water. The mixture should be about as thick as a milkshake.

TIP: Tap the mixing container on the ground to remove any bubbles that may have accumulated in the mixture. This will give you a higher quality cast.

Step 4: Pour the plaster onto the ground next to the track and allow it to run into the track. Pour the plaster evenly over the track to a depth of about 1 to 1 1/2 inch.

TIP: Add dry twigs, wire, or string to the plaster cast to reinforce it and make it stronger.

Step 5: It will take your cast a little while to dry. When you think it is dry, try tapping it gently with your knuckles. If it is firm and has a ceramic ring to it, then it is safe to pick up the cast. Pick the cast up gently because it can crack easily.

Do you notice any trends in size or location?

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