Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? When I was a little boy I was obsessed with dinosaurs. And trust me…my students are no different. The excitement around our dinosaur unit is almost more than we can handle. And now research says students who are obsessed with dinosaurs learn more!
TRUE STORY! I was having my final evaluation of the year and was doing a dinosaur read aloud. Every time I read (or butchered) the name of a dinosaur, one of my students would correct me. In front of the principal.
Dinosaurs Research Project
To learn about dinosaurs, we use our Dinosaurs research project!
If you’re going to learn about dinosaurs, then you must become a paleontologist. So we used our Paleontogolists reader to learn about paleontologists. And then we got to don our hats, goggles, and tools and excavate our own fossil dig!
Our fossil excavation was a chocolate chip cookie. We used paint brushes, plastic knives and tweezers to excavate the fossils (chocolate chips!).
As any good scientist does, we documented our findings in our research journals!
Check out this lesson in action:
We also Twinkies and candy bones. I inserted the bones into the Twinkies and the students excavated the bones. This was a fun activity but we will definitely go back to the cookies!
And of course, you must dress the part!
If you’d like a simple emergent reader about Paleontologists, click the picture!
I love schema maps because it provides the opportunity to record all of our thinking and then we can address any misconceptions as we study and learn. I love the Post-It notes because they make the schema map so flexible and fluid!
Dinosaur Research: Graphic Organizers
For each dinosaur, we read a book to research about that dinosaur. We complete a graphic organizer for the dinosaur. Students use the graphic organizer to write about the dinosaur. Then we label the parts of a dinosaur and do a directed drawing of the dinosaur.
We differentiate our writing so some students copy from the graphic organizer, some students copy from the graphic organizer and add more details and some students write their own facts!
We also complete a true/false sort about dinosaurs as a way to incorporate even more higher order thinking skills into our dinosaur unit!
Here’s my tip of the day: When doing class graphic organizers, draw a box around each statement or sentence. This makes it easier for the kids to write the statements. Usually they just write the first line or word, but the box helps them understand that they must write the whole statement. BAM!
Students also generate definitions and pictures for our vocabulary words and we keep a vocabulary chart up during the lesson!
We made giant dinosaur feet and did the Dinosaur Stomp on GoNoodle!
These were super cheap and easy. The foam sheets are 33 cents at Wal-Mart. Total cost for a class set was $9.
I just traced a giant dinosaur foot and cut them out! Slice an X in the middle and BAM! Dino feet!
We measure a T-rex foot and see how many of our feet it takes to fill up a Tyrannosaurus Rex foot!
As always, we kick off our units with…of course…a silly hat!
To make these, just cut out 6 green diamonds. Glue to a green strip and glue the points together. Tape to a green strip and measure to fit! BAM!
And yes, I got in the dinosaur hat mania. DUH!
Hatching A Dinosaur
We made these dinosaur eggs out of baking soda and water. We placed a small plastic dinosaur inside the mixture and placed it in a plastic egg. The egg froze overnight. The next day the students used droppers and vinegar to hatch the egg!
Grab your plastic dinosaurs on Amazon HERE!
Dinosaur Green Screen
We used our green screen to take EPIC dinosaur pictures!
For more on our green screen, visit this post!
Dinosaurs Art Projects
Half paper plate, glue and glitter! Totally easy and super sparkly!
You can get the pattern at The Craft Train. Just click the picture!
Tissue Paper Pterodactyls
Dinosaur feet painting!
Dinosaur Stomp Painting
The kindergarten hallway was transformed into the lost world courtesy of my teammate, Ms. Stuffin! Isn’t she so freakin’ talented!?
Our differentiated sensory bin even turned into the lost world! Some moss, some sand. Some dinosaurs and CVC words and CVC-E words! BAM!!!
And if you’re going to dinosaur write the room, you need dinosaur hats! Thanks Dollar Tree!
And finally, you must end with epic dinosaur snacks.
Dino Droppings (our favorites!)=Nestle Cruncha Bunch!
You can snag the dino snack labels for free by clicking on the pictures!
Here’s another fun dinosaur snack! Pudding, candy rocks (from Amazon) and a plastic dinosaur!
And yes, if you’re doing a dinosaur theme, you dress as T-Rex!
As part of our dinosaur unit, we did a dinosaur classroom transformation! Check it out here!
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So many super fun ideas. Thank you! I tried clicking on your “Paleontologist” emergent reader, but it just took me to another page on your blog. Suggestions on how to obtain this resource?
Hi Jill! Thank you so much for letting me know about this link. It has now been fixed!
I would just like to say that you are amazing! I mean what an epic lesson on Dinosaurs. From the projects to the hats and your Dinosaur costume, I bet your students must love you.