Ammonites Rock! 10 Fast Facts For Kids…. Plus Ammonite Craft and Homeschooling Note

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Ancient, and beautiful, ammonites!

Have an interest in prehistoric carnivores? We certainly do! Learning about ammonites is wonderful, and interesting, for kids of all ages, and there is a lot of available information to be found. Captain and I have been talking about ammonites a lot lately, and we have been doing an ammonite art project as well.  We will share our ammonite art project on a post very soon, so be sure to keep an eye out for it!  Here we go….

Ammonite Fast Facts:

1. Ammonites were predatory, squid-like creatures that lived inside coil-shaped shells.

2. Ammonites had (very sharp!) beak-like jaws inside a ring of tentacles that extended from their shells to snatch prey.

3. They ate small fish and crustaceans.  (Crustaceans are animals that usually have a hard covering, or exoskeleton, and two pairs of antennas, or feelers, like crabs, lobsters, and shrimps.)

4. Ammonites constantly built new shell as they grew, but only lived in the outer chamber.

5. Some ammonites could grow as large as 3 feet (1 meter) across! Scientists suspect that creatures such as the giant mosasaur Tylosaurus preyed on them.

6. A group of ammonites was called a “school”, just like fish.

7. Ammonites scooted through the shallow seas by squirting jets of water from their bodies. A thin tube-like structure called a siphuncle (sounds cool!) reached into the ammonites inner chambers to pump and siphon air that helped them move through the water.

8. Female ammonites grew up to 400% larger than males.  Could this have been to make room to lay eggs?

9. Ammonites first appeared about 240 million years ago!

10. They went extinct with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.  Scientists use ammonite shells to help date other fossils.

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Ammonites are among the most abundant fossils found today and they are amazing! Try drawing a simple coil and turn it into a colorful ammonite. How big would it have been? What did it hunt to eat that day?

Ammonite Fossil Ornaments:  You can make a craft dough with your kids (recipe here), roll it out and make ammonites!  Cut out a simple shape, like the one above, and have the child etch a deep coil into the dough. Alternately, you can have kids roll out dough “snakes” and coil them tightly and scratch the lines on it with the tines of a fork. Follow the recipe instructions for baking and painting. Perhaps the pre-cooked dough could be pressed into some sand for texture?  Or a bit of food coloring could be added to the dough. Or, something we have been meaning to try: adding brown food coloring to the dough, then coiling into an ammonite and pressing the raw dough into dirt or red clay before baking.

Before I say goodbye, I would like to add a homeschooling note. Captain first became interested in ammonites because of her Auntie Sheryl. It was when she was two years old that they first began to talk about them together at family gatherings. Auntie would print information for her, and bring ammonites to show her. She would hold Captain in her lap and let her play with her ammonite jewelry. Because of her Aunt, Captain gained an interest in learning about ancient things that is much deeper than zipping through “subjects’ because she was interested, curious, and wanting more. As homeschooling parents, my husband and I cannot possibly know all of the things we should be teaching our daughter.  I was afraid of this very idea about a year ago, when we really had to decide about what we were going to do about school/unschool/ANY school!  How could we know what to do? We aren’t scientists, artists, or mathematicians! Family, friends, tutors, and cool people in general, are vital to teaching kids. Exposure to other people’s ideas, art, interests, and skills really do change the lives of kids. Within the circles of our family and friends, we know so many people who have so much to offer.  Our job is to be sure that our daughter gets to spend as much time as she can with the people that can light her up with what they know, and sometimes, something very special will happen too.  Children benefit from being connected to their place in their family history as well. I don’t think my daughter will ever look at an ammonite and not remember her Aunt Sheryl.  Prehistoric carnivores and family love. What more could I ask for?

Good thoughts, Karen
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Categories: Homeschooling Projects, Our Homeschooling Plan, Science Rocks For Kids!, Social Science Rocks For Kids! | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Ammonites Rock! 10 Fast Facts For Kids…. Plus Ammonite Craft and Homeschooling Note

  1. Charlotte

    So true about family and friends being a goldmine of wonderful energy and innovation – even if not professors. My mum’s enthusiasm creates the most beautiful connection with my kids (as an exhomeschooling mum she carries that on with my kids) and they are sent parcels in the mail stuffed with books and treasures to explore and learn…along with hand scrawled notes about this and that from her.
    We live on a limestone ridge so there are so many fossils right there….the kids love picking them up but we are getting rather a huge pile of rocks on the back veranda, we may have to sort them out lol

  2. Ammonites look like they are cool creatures! Can’t wait to see your next post.:)

  3. I find your homeschooling note very inspiring! I hope my littlies can find similarly passionate role models and teachers along the way!

    • I am sure they will! Sometimes it is the form of family members, or friends, and sometimes just a surprise out of the blue~ someone they connect with all on their own. Thanks for writing!

  4. Nice informative piece. Our kids have enjoyed hunting for fossils on hikes.

    With regard to your concern about homeschooling: what I fall back on after doing school in our home for 15 years with 3 kids is: I don’t think I have to be a subject specialist, I just have to know how to obtain resources (people or any kind of material) and present them in a way that meets the needs and interests of our kids. I view my role as a Facilitator more than as a Teacher.

    But the beauty of homeschooling is determining what works best for your family.

    • Kristin, thank you for your comments. I agree completely with you about being a facilitator. My main job is to gather the materials and resources for my kiddo. She guides me pretty well too 🙂 Thank you so much, again, and I am curious, are you still homeschooling, or are the kids out and about?
      Good thoughts, Karen

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