Dinosaurs - Lesson 7: Nature and Change
On this page
- Encountering the Idea
- Exploring the Idea
- Getting the Idea
- Organizing the Idea
- Closure and Assessment
- List of Activities for this Lesson
BIG IDEAS:The story of the existence and extinction of dinosaurs tells us that
change is a part of nature. Change can be observed by making comparisons and by
Whole Group Activities
- Books: If the Dinosaurs Came Back by B. Most and The Dinosaur
Family Reunion by C. Allen.
- Taped music: for example, Saint Saenz' The Carnival of Animals for
the Dinosaur Parade and for the Listening Center
- Chart tablet with at least one page per child at the Writing
- Markers, paints, patterns, scraps of fabrics, etc. at the Art
A four-foot long drawing of the head of Tyrannosaurus Rex for the Mathematics
Center. See Appendix B- Dinosaur Shape Book. A picture can be enlarged
to four feet.
- Pattern for a six-inch tooth to be measured and drawn by each child and
placed in Tyrannosaurus Rex's mouth. Use tooth in Appendix D -- Tyrannosaurus Rex's
- Big paper clips for measuring, and an additional chart tablet
Illustrations of prehistoric conditions on earth depicting the climate, the
vegetation, the surface features on earth and the other types of animal life
besides the dinosaurs
We have studied many things about dinosaurs, and we have been fascinated
with them. It is very exciting to think that no one has seen one of these
creatures, and yet we think that we know a lot about them because we have been
able to study their remains in the form of fossils. We have learned that these
animals existed many millions of years ago, that they were able to live on earth
because there was plenty of food for them in the form of plants and animals.
Something happened. Scientists cannot say with certainty what caused the
dinosaurs to become extinct; nevertheless, they did. But that is not all that
changed on earth. That is one of the fascinating and important things that we can
study in science -- that some things change, and some things stay the same. That
is what we are going to be exploring today - change - and one way that it can be
observed - by comparing measurements.
Read the book, If the Dinosaurs Came Back aloud to the students. Ask them
what they think would have to happen for the dinosaurs to be able to come back.
What would they need?
They would need a place to live. Where would that be? They would also need a lot
of food. Where would they get it? What kind of food would they need? PLANTS AND
MEAT. Do you think that people and dinosaurs could live together today? Do you
think we could build a zoo large enough for these dinosaurs? How could we protect
ourselves from them? Yes, the earth has changed a lot since the time of the
dinosaurs. In our centers, we are going to see in what ways the earth has
At the Science Center, the students will draw and color two maps of the
continents on earth. They will complete Activity -- The Continents
At the Mathematics Center the students:
1. complete Activity - Making a Pictograph. Before the students go to the
center, explain to the students what a pictograph is.
2. complete Activity --Dino Math.
3. measure Tyrannosaurus Rex's teeth. See Appendix D -- Ty Rex's
4. collect information to observe change. See Appendix E -- A Blue
How has the earthed changed since the time of the dinosaurs? We know that there
were many animals that existed then, but they do not exist on earth now. Some of
these were the dinosaurs, the mastodons, the giant bears, the saber-toothed
tigers, and the giant panthers whose fossils have been found in California. Are
there any animals that are the size of the giant dinosaurs living today? The
largest animal on earth is the blue whale. Is it as large as the Seismosaurus
was? How do you know?
We know that some places that had been underwater are now deserts, and that the
continents have divided. How do we know that? Fossils of fish and other aquatic
animals have been found where desert is now.
The climate is different because it is less warm and humid than before; there are
fewer plants; the continents have separated, forming great oceans between them;
the surface has changed, creating new mountains and valleys; and there are people
that live on all parts of the earth. Things that have not changed are that:
plants need the sun to make food; plants make food for themselves and for all the
animals on earth; if the earth can no longer produce plants, then all life
will become extinct.
At the Writing Center the student will work in groups of four children.
Each student group may select one of two ideas to write about. Before beginning
to write and before going to the centers, all students work together to develop
1.The students suggest action words that describe what they think dinosaurs
did such as "come", "waddle", "skip", "walk", "jump", "run", "trip", "leap", etc.
and other things they think dinosaurs would do if dinosaurs came back. Write
children's responses on a chart. Ask "Which word best describes what the
brontosaurus must have done?" Choose one student at a time to demonstrate the
brontosaurus waddle; the stegosauruses trip two by two; the triceratops run five
by five; the pteranodons (which are a type of reptile and not technically a dinosaur)
fly six by six; and the Tyrannosaurus Rex comes in alone. Include other suggestions
from the students.
2.The students list how the earth has changed since the time of the dinosaurs and
what things have not changed. The climate has changed; there are fewer plants;
the continents have separated; the surface on the earth has changed; and there
are now people on earth.
The Art Center is to be reserved for the group that has completed their
work in the Writing Center with the teacher and is ready to begin work on
one of the two topics in a group Big Book. Each group chooses an idea to be
illustrated and goes to the Art Center to begin that group's Big Book. The
words suggested will be used to write the group Big Book. There will be as many
Big Books as you have groups. Peers edit each other's group books. After they are
corrected, these Big Books are placed in the Library Center for students
A new book, The Dinosaur Family Reunion, is placed in the Library
Center and in the Listening Center where students continue to read and
listen to The Carnival of Animals or some other music tape about animals.
1.Do you think that dinosaurs could come back to earth today and survive? Write a
story or draw a picture of The Dinosaur that Came to (your city).
2.Take the children to a museum with a fossil collection or invite a local
paleontologist to visit your class and show a fossil collection.
Reconvene the group. Children share the stories they wrote at the Writing
The students then have a Dinosaur Parade, marching to the taped music. The
students select the dinosaur they want to be and walk in the parade role playing
their favorite dinosaur: walking, or crawling.
1. What did we learn about dinosaurs today?
2. How big was Tyrannosaurus Rex's head?
3. What can we use to compare to a dinosaur's height? A house? How many
4. How do we know that the size of animals has changed from the dinosaurs' time to
5. How do we know the dinosaurs we read about in The Dinosaur Family Reunion
6. What would you do if Tyrannosaurus Rex came into our classroom today?
7. What does a pictograph tell us ?
8. What was the thing you liked best about our work with the dinosaurs?
9. What are some of your favorite words that tell about dinosaurs and their
1. Assess level of completion and participation in writing/illustrating
one of the two assigned topics and/or on the story in the application phase of
2. The student places the correct illustration or word on the spaces provided
or holds up the item as the teacher reads the following text. (Small groups of
children can be assessed at a time.) Illustrations/models needed: Dinosaur,
plants, meat, eggs, claws, horns, fossils. Teacher can also ask children to
write/illustrate their answers in the spaces provided as the text is read.
Long ago, there lived some terrible lizards, we call _____________________.
Some of these lizards ate ________________________ and some ate
_____________________. They laid _______________ in nests on the ground.
They used different things for their protection like __________________________
and ________________________. We know that they lived in the world because
we have found _______________________.
3. Given a set of three (or some other number of items ), the child adds two more
(or the number needed) to make a set of five. (Teacher may say, "I have three
counters. How many more do I need to make a set of five?")
- Appendix B-Dinosaur Shape Book
- Appendix D -- Ty Rex's Tooth
- Appendix E -- A Blue Whale
- The Continents Divide
- Making a Pictograph
- Dinosaur Mathematics