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Fossils/Dinosaur Unit

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A collection of ideas/activities to use when teaching a unit about fossils/dinosaurs.
Dino- unit
Posted by:Sarah #68230

I love to use butcher paper, trace my kids and let them make a "child-o-saurus" by decorating their tracing. Also, I use tons of different kinds of noodle to make skeletons, and we make a "shape-o-saurus" with differt geometric shapes. If you're feeling brave make a chipping block for the kids to use like archeologists. Fill a trash can with plaster of paris and add plastic dinos, easter eggs, dog bones, etc... and when it's dry, give them goggles, paint brushes, and tooth picks or something of the sort to chip away and find fossils. (Lab coats add a nice touch) You can do the same thing on a smaller scale with Ice Cubes or small blocks of ice.
we also do a dino print project, I draw a huge dinosaur foot print on butcher paper and then we paint our feet and walk around inside...

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Dino 'baseball card'
Posted by:LurkerTammy #1184

I had students do a dinosaur report, complete with 3D project (report done in school, project done at home).

I went back and forth about what to do with their final copy so I created a 'dinosaur baseball card' template. I printed a final draft for each student (changing the dinosaur name on the template).

Students transferred information from their rough draft onto their card.

Then I photocopied each students' dinosaur card and am putting them into books that each student will take home.

The kids love it, and are very excited about getting their own copy of the book. I'll attach the files I used here.

Download: DinoInfoCard.doc (29.184 KB)

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Rough Draft
Posted by:LurkerTammy #1185

Here's the rough draft. I send it home but we try to do the majority of the research in class. I print a copy of the Enchanted Learning ( information page to get them going.

Download: Dinosaur Research.doc (186.368 KB)

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dino days
Posted by:dino days #91499

We are in the middle of our dino unit and the kids love it! As junior paleontologists, they have created skeletons of dinos using toothpicks and popsicle sticks glued onto a construction paper dino template, dug for fossils (chips) with picks (toothpicks)in chocolate chip cookies, pressed plastic dinosaur footprints and shells into superdough to create fossil necklaces, created dinosaur dioramas in shoe boxes with Model Magic dinosaurs, written stories about what it would be like to have a dinosaur as a pet and what they think may have happened to the dinosaurs...let me know if you need more ideas or literature titles, I wrote a thematic unit on this last summer and have tons more ideas!

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Dino activities
Posted by:LJ #68044

We do a month long unit on dinos each year in second grade. We research the different periods and the dinos from the periods.... then compare and contrast carnivores, herbivores and omnivores with a venn diagram.... a project the kids love is to make a diarahma (don't know the spelling ) But if you type in "dinosaurs" you will come up with lots of sites on dinos--- there are sites with printable dinos that the kids can color and cut out and there are also printable background scenes for the different periods as well. The kids can also use modeling clay to put in their (shoebox). Our art teacher gets involved as well and they make a clay project that they paint and fire in the kiln for their diahrama (I think is the spelling). We do much...

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fossil prints
Posted by:phyllis #14938

Hi I found this somewhere on the web but don't have the URL so I can't send you there but here is an idea
What is a fossil?
Can I make a fossil print?

what you need (per person)
"stone" dough mix

1/2 cup of salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup of brewed coffee cold
1 cup of used coffee grounds
measuring cups
mixing bowl
mixing spoons

Fossils to imprint
twigs, leaves, dead, hard-shelled bugs, seashells, chicken bones, plastic dinosaur models for skin textures or footprints.

What you do
1. Measure salt, flour, coffee, and grounds; add each to bowl and stir together until well mixed.

2. Turn this dough out onto a large sheet of waxed paper and knead it until smooth.

3. Break off a piece large enough for the imprint you wnat to make,...

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Dinosaur PE
Posted by:Robin #71264

I have taught Dinosaurs for the last seven years. One of the most loved games that we play at PE by my 1st & 2nd graders is "Herbivore, Herbivore, Carnivore" (AKA Duck, Duck, Goose). First, I teach them about plant eaters and meat eaters. For first grade-- one of our standards is being able to identify what animals eat based on the shape of their teeth--so this works well with Dinosaurs. Sharp pointy teeth:meat eaters;Flat teeth:plant eaters; both kinds of teeth:plant eater & meat eater (like us!).

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Dinosaur unit
Posted by:Kellie #66988

Rani, I am a first grade teacher and I have a couple of activites that my students LOVE to do during our study of dinosaurs. The first activity is a writing activity. I give each student a plastic Easter egg with a plastic dinosaur inside. Once they open the egg and they discover the dinosaur, they are to write a story about it. I give them the story starter of One day I found a dinosaur... They have to tell me where they found their dinosaur, what color it was, what it looked like, what they decided to do with their dinosaur, what they named their dinosaur, etc. The students are always eager to write with the fun manipulatives! The second activity is making dinosaur fossils. I use coffee grounds and flour to make a "batter" or mix. The students each get a small portion which...

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Posted by:Kelli #49599

Hey Jen, I did this for the first time last year and it was EASY!!! Use milk cartons from lunch, plaster of paris, seashells (?) and modeling clay. Wash out and let the carton dry overnight; put the clay in the bottom and shape it into the bottom of the carton (1/2 inch or so); press the shell down into the clay with the textured side of the shell, be sure to remove the shell; mix the plaster (I think 1 part plaster to 2 parts water?? the directions are on the carton!); and pour to cover the shell indention in the clay (about 1 inch or so); let try for several days and peel away the milk carton and clay. You can also use your new "fossil" to make another different kind of fossil but I forget how!! The kids LOVED this activity!I let the students keep the shell. Good Luck!

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dinosaur sizes
Posted by:MA #33933

Hi! I teach second grade and wehn we study dinosaurs we look up the dinosaur lengths and then go out to our parking lot and measure them out with a measuring tape and colored chalk. This gives the kids an idea about their size. They are always impressed! Then they write their dino's name and draw a picture of it along its length with the sidewalk chalk!

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Posted by:ma-bethany #120979

i would also do a science lesson. i do this lesson every year, and it's always a huge hit with my kids (no matter the age!)

it's basically a lesson on dinosaur fossils.

1. introduce vocabulary they might hear - paleontologist, fossils, excavation etc. (you can find more words when you preview the following story for yourself).

2. read Magic School Bus: In the time of Dinosaurs ( I think that's it). read it aloud, but i always stop where they get to the fossil sight and are doing the excavation. it's about midway thru. i don't get into the dinosaur bones or whatever it is the rest of the book is about.

3. students participate in their own excavation. give each kid a chocolate chip cookie and a couple of toothpicks. tell them that hte cookie is the fossil...

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Stone Dough
Posted by:L.P. #33448

Here it is:

Stone Dough
1/2 cup of salt
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of brewed coffee (cold)
1 cup of used coffee grounds

Mix ingredients together in a bowl. Turn out onto wax paper and knead until smooth. If dough is too sticky, fold in a little more flour. A drier dough works best. I keep dough in the refrigerator until ready to use. To keep the objects you impress from sticking, dip them in flour before pressing into the dough. Let "fossils" air dry for several days. I turned mine so they could dry faster. The dough and fossils smell great! And they look so realistic.

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dinosaur 5 feet
Posted by:Kathy #22464

The easiest way I found to make a dinosaur was to use a very large bullentin board or wall. Students brought in tubes from empty toilet or paper towel rolls. We glued the tubes on a painted background and created a skeleton of a dinosuar (students voted). I made the real life connection to the dinosaur wall at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah. Students loved working on the project and trying to name different types of bones. Parents enjoyed the finished art work. The one nice thing about it,you do not have to worry about it falling down or someone knocking it over. It's very inexpensive.

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dinosaur activities
Posted by:Julianne #27707

Some things I've done with kindergarten or first:

Giant paper stuffed dinosaurs - make a pattern (or kids can make their own). Cut it out twice from bulletin board paper or other very large art paper. Staple around the edges of the dinosaur leaving a stuffing space, and color both sides. Now stuff the thing with crushed up newspaper or other waste paper. Finish stapling and you have a 3D giant dinosaur. Just so you know - brontosaurus doesn't work so well because it's awfully hard to stuff that long, skinny neck!

Dinosaur footprints - using homemade playdough have students press their handprint into the dough. Now fill the impression with plaster of paris. Wait until it is completely hardened, then remove the playdough. It sometimes sticks, but you can gently wash the print if you wait until the...

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Dino activities
Posted by:Bertie #134983

The Discovery Center ..... Using a page I found in a Crayola Kids magazine, (but it wouldn't be hard to make up your own) I made outlines of several different dino bodies, tails, heads and legs. We ran them off in different bright colors and had spikes, ridges, crests etc that the kids could add. They assembled their "newly discovered" dino on a mountainous, swampy, jungle or rocky background and then together we use a dictionary of greek/latin terms I found in a dino fact book for inventing a new name. I print the new name for them and the translation.

We also do a research center in small groups with the librarian, where they record facts like a paleontologist ... size, food, habitat, description, interesting facts, and they get to illustrate their report by photocopying an illustration from their research book.

For the math center...

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