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Introduction Grade K Lessons Grade 1 Lessons Grade 2 Lessons Grade 3 Lessons Bibliography
Table of Contents
Lesson Overview
Teacher Background Information
Lesson Focus
Objective Grid
Lesson 1: Long Ago
Lesson 2: Extinction
Lesson 3: Fossils
Lesson 4: Types of Dinosaurs
Lesson 5: Meat and Plant Eaters
Lesson 6: The Dinosaur's Life Cycle
Lesson 7: Nature and Change
-The Continents Divide
-Making a Pictograph
-Dinosaur Mathematics
-Appendix D - Ty Rex's Tooth
-Appendix E - A Blue Whale
Spanish Language Translations

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 using mathematics.

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 Center
  • Markers, paints, patterns, scraps of fabrics, etc. at the Art Center
    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 Tooth.
  • 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

Encountering the Idea
Exploring the Idea
Getting the Idea
Organizing the Idea
Applying the Idea
Closure and Assessment
List of Activities for this Lesson

Encountering the Idea

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.

Exploring the Idea

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 changed.

At the Science Center, the students will draw and color two maps of the continents on earth. They will complete Activity -- The Continents Divide.

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 Tooth.
4. collect information to observe change. See Appendix E -- A Blue Whale.

Getting the Idea

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.

Organizing the Idea

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 their ideas.

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 to read.

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.

Applying the Idea

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.

Closure and Assessment

Reconvene the group. Children share the stories they wrote at the Writing Center.
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.

Oral Interviews
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 houses?
4. How do we know that the size of animals has changed from the dinosaurs' time to our time?
5. How do we know the dinosaurs we read about in The Dinosaur Family Reunion were make-believe?
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 time?

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 the lesson.

Written/Illustrated Completion/Items
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?")

List of Activities for this Lesson

  1. Appendix B-Dinosaur Shape Book
  2. Appendix D -- Ty Rex's Tooth
  3. Appendix E -- A Blue Whale
  4. The Continents Divide
  5. Making a Pictograph
  6. Dinosaur Mathematics

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