Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dinosaurs in the library!

We had dinosaurs in the library today! We had a great time exploring just how really big some of the dinosaurs were and how small some of them were. We know a lot about dinosaurs from fossils so we played paleontologist, scientist who studies dinosaurs, by digging out our own dinosaur clues. Then we got to make fossils.

Here are some ideas for exploring dinosaurs with your own paleontologists at home.

What if you had a dinosaur? Make a habitat for your dinosaur in a shoe box, empty tissue box, or on paper. Cut out magazine pictures, use natural materials (pine sprigs, twigs, rocks) or paint your own food, water, and friends for your dino.

Counting. Use dinosaur shaped crackers for counting. If you find dinosaur shaped fruit snacks you can lay them out in a graph before eating to see which color has the most and which color has the least.

Sorting. Gather all your toy dinosaurs and then group into piles with at least two dinosaurs in each pile. What kind of piles did you make? Try again but make fewer or more piles. Try piling them by what foods they ate or when they lived.

Herbivore or Carnivore? Look at your teeth together. Some of our teeth are long, wide and sharp while others are just bumpy. What do we use our teeth for? What do the front teeth do better than the back teeth? You can extend this at lunch by offering meat like a hot dog and plants like lettuce or carrots. How do you eat different foods? Dinosaurs were the same way. Plant eaters used their teeth to grind leaves (molar = grind) and plant stems up while carnivores used their slim sharp teeth (incise = cut) to tear into meat. (Humans are omnivores – we eat both plants and meat.)

Dig it! Hide plastic dinosaurs in the sand box or a small box with corn meal. Give your child a small shovel, paint brush, a ruler, a sifter, and a hat as the tools of a paleontologist. They can dig the fossils and use the tools to carefully uncover and measure them. As they dig the dirt, they should put it through the sifter to uncover tiny fossils. You can make footprints or scenes with toy dinosaurs as well.

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