Dinosaur Days Level 15-16
book run down and activity suggestions
Overview: An introduction to how dinosaurs are found today and what kind of things we can find. How scientists put them together and where we can see them now, and how they lived. Likely be used for over two weeks.
Resources that can be used. Fossil examples ( triceratops bone, spinosaurus teeth, dinosaur poo, trilobite, moasaurus teeth and matrix, dinosaur skeleton, other dinosaur books, encyclopedia of dinosaurs, top trumps dinosaur cards, amber with insect inclusions, Jurassic park movies of DNA and TREX etc, microscope, dinosaur pictures of the fossil examples. Meteor for example of how they ended and globe.
Page run down
Page 4-7: Introduces how we find dinosaurs, and where we can see them now. two words may need explaining: ancient and puzzle.
Page 8-11: how old dinosaurs are, and introduction to syllable saying of dinosaur names really useful for later! Explains that most animals today were not around when dinosaurs walked the Earth but highlights some animals that were still here. Also explains the climate was wetter and warmer back then.
Page 12 – 15: Meet the first dinosaur the book cuts the word so students can have a go at saying its name. This is really useful for them. Also calls Dinosaurs reptiles and shows the start of predator prey relationships. Words that may need assistance include: Panphagia, reptiles and forest
Page 16-19: Offers a picture to show the size difference between different dinosaurs which can be used in the school surroundings. then leads on to another dinosaur Argentinosaurus which was one of the biggest. Explains the size and the weight of these. it is a good opportunity to talk about how dinosaurs are named and that some would be about how they look, others could be where they were found. Words to explain: Argentinosaurus
Page 20-23. Further explains the Argentinosaurus and how it got its name ( from the previous page questions) and how much it would have had to eat to survive, and on the next page shows a larger carnivore that would not be able to take a full grown Argentinosaurus but would prey on the younger ones. Its name( and there is a joke in there if you wish it) is Mapusaurus. It is a good time to take some different teeth out to demonstrate that plant eaters and meat eaters teeth are very different. see if they can tell you why. if you don’t have fossils, then it is easy to get the images from google and use those. Ask about human teeth as well, what are ours like, are they all the same and if not why not. ( we eat everything) Words to explain: hunt, Mapusaurus
Page 24-29: A difficult group of pages due to new vocabulary, and dinosaur names thrown in. It introduces the plated dinosaurs, and what they did to survive, and also the duck billed dinosaurs. It tries to get the message that all these dinosaurs were not around at the same time. You could introduce that Trex is closer in time to us that to Stegasaurus for example. it discusses another set of teeth used to grind food. Words to explain: billed, protected, bony, armoured, edmontosaurus, scelidosaurus
Page 30-33: The T-Rex is on these pages, they put feathers on this as well if you want to drop a hint on where we can see dinosaurs today. It explains the name and waht it ate, the next page explains how some dinosaurs tried to stay safe from the T-Rex including the ankylosaurus. Words to explain: hunters, club, plates, armour, danger, ankylosaurus, Tyranosaurus Rex
Page 34-37: It introduces another dinosaur the triceratops, and explains what its name means and how it could defend its self. Also gives the second clue ( fairly obvious one) about birds being dinosaurs and mentions that they came from eggs. has a list of names that are worth students trying to say, you could let them know how many syllables in each first so they can work it out. Words to explain: charged, triceratops, horned, sharp, feathers, hatched, microraptor, sinosauropteryx, anchiornis
Page 38-41: Again the books shows it readers that although the all star dinosaurs have long since gone, it is clear we have some still among us. Citipati was a feathered dinosaur that had both parents take care of the eggs. I can only presume they have found fossils that show this to be the case. It does show a cute baby one, but i imagine it would be less cute as it got bigger! The next two pages briefly remind the readers that there are more to dinosaurs than those walking the earth, there are those under the sea as well. Plesiosaurs, and others. If you wanted to pick up a moasaurus tooth they go pretty cheap, and its the dinosaur from Jurassic World so it has wow factor, and the ammonite fossils are pretty common as well. Word to explain: plesiosaurs, reach, strange, catch
Page 42-43: from the sea to the air, although from the picture that’s not that clear! and the book introduces us to the last of its dinosaurs the Pteranodon. ( now that they cant say easily!!) and describes the size and how it flew. Words to explain: Pteranodon, wide, rested, soared, glider.
Page 44-47: The end of the dinosaurs, complete with a massive asteroid hitting the earth and a fairly surprised T-Rex. It explains what happened, though you will have to go into further detail on what happens when the sun is blocked out, plants die, animals that eat plants die, animals that eat animals die. slow moving animals cant find enough , small ones that don’t need so much could survive etc. Words to explain: millions, asteroid, smashed, giant, darkness.
Other tasks and activities.
Top Trumps Dinosaur Card game.
I have tried to have classes make their own version of these but with limited success, so i always revert to buying them. They cost anything from 6 usd to 12 usd from what i have seen. Link here in the picture but you might be able to find cheaper. However they are great for higher levels English learning mainly because of the name. I wish there was a way of making the information less wordy and difficult though, they would be perfect then. I use them to try to decode the names of dinosaurs, and for learnign the size and age differences between them, the game is a simply highest card wins game but students love it. ( i am sitting here at lunch time writing this watching a group of 8 years olds who come voluntarily just to play those games)
Fossils and Realia
A sure win, and something most students wont get a chance to do very often. It is reasonably cheap to pick up Fossils off eBay or Amazon and you don’t need museum grade ones, just a picture of the dinosaur, the fossil and a good story. It can be used to match to the dinosaurs in the book., to pictures or descriptions you have I will include a photo of the fossils i have.
Books, books and more books.
Further reading is great for this and students will pick up and read on their own books on this topic. I have traditional books and AR books from Carlton Books. The AR is great, and ZooKazam is another app that you can put moving dinosaurs on to their tables. The books i use are Jurassic world raptor rescue ( trainable velociraptor) , Battling dinosaurs, and Jurassic world Special edition. I will link one of them, but to give you an idea of what you get i will also put an image under this, and a video of it moving around my classroom. From this you can work out the reaction of the students.
Judging from the number of dinosaur ( and Space) virtual reality experiences there are out there it is almost like it was made for that purpose. It is good to sit and look at world cities, but it is awesome to sit and watch a dinosaur come and check you out. I use this without fail to put my students in a real life ( OK as close as we can get) Jurassic World, with out the screams and running. I will be writing a review of the Dinosaur, and probably space VR apps in the coming months so wont gush too much about it here. Suffice to say if you can get it , get it. You wont regret it.
Trips out to Museums
I am in Hong Kong, we have a science museum, its free on Wednesdays for schools ( have to book) GO!
If you are not in Hong Kong, if you have a museum close to you then check it out as mist with have some sort of dinosaur exhibits and it doesn’t have to be as grand as the Natural History museum to inspire your students.
I am a NET teacher so the chances of me being able to organise a trip are next to zero, however the chances of me jumping on another subjects trip are much higher, and at that point you can walk with the students and introduce them to the exhibits with your curriculum in mind.
Make a fossil
Now this is a pain. I did it for a year group and it was crazy amount fo work. But if you have a single class, are in the rest fo the world and not Hong Kong, your primary students are with you all day, not as in my case 40 mins to an hour a week. This activity can be any thing you want it to be, art, history, GS, maths, English and therefore STEM ( call it what you want its basically project work)
- Take a fossil, shark tooth, something recognisable, and teach the students how to make a plaster cast of it. I used either Plasticine or PlayDoh and some warm-able plastic casts. ( not needed though.)
- Press it into the PlayDOh and make an impression.
- Take some paper or plastic cups and cut the bottom off. Make sure the PlayDoh Mold is big enough to fit on tightly to the PlayDoh.
- Make up some plaster and pour it in so there is a good centimeter of plaster in the cup ( clear plastic ones work better) and let it set.
- Once its dried you can take off the Playdoh and you have a fossil looking back at you.
- Paint in watercolours to make it look better. I used paint type colour pencils.
It is fun and great and will create memories, but in my teaching situation unless i have a small group i unfortunately won’t be doing it again.