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I love dinosaurs as a class theme. Kids are always passionate about it (even if not a first) and it can be integrated into all subjects. Today I am going to share some of my best dinosaur lessons.
I like to start off with a KWL. Students discuss what they already KNOW about dinosaurs. I get them to choose one of the facts they are most sure of and write it on a B4 piece of paper and support it with a picture. Repeat this with what they WANT to know. It makes for a great presentation on the wall.
Another really good wall presentation is silhouette sunsets. Students paint a sunset background on a half piece of A4 using a wash of paint (watered down or water colours). They then cut out silhouettes of dinosaurs and trees. This can be really fiddly but makes great fine motor practice. Ensure you instruct them on cutting tips and making sure they leave no white pieces. Tell them to take care while gluing to ensure each part is glued down and no pieces get ripped.
The following activities are all available in my Dinosaur Pack, that is linked below!
Dinosaurs are a great topic to practice comprehension skills including learning how to write full sentence answers and finding answers for a range of question types. My pack contains 5 dinosaurs and an article on the pterodactyl and why it is not a dinosaur.
A great way to introduce dinosaur vocabulary is a word search. Discuss what the words mean and then students can complete the word search for fun.
Once students get to know about various dinosaur and their features they can design their own! Discuss how to label diagrams and then students practice their descriptive writing describing their dinosaur.
For a fun design lesson (Technology and Enterprise) students can use recyclable materials to recreate a chosen dinosaur. They must write a procedure for how to do so including a labelled diagram.
Integrate poetry by creating acrostic poems (based on research), a cinquain or haiku in the shape of a dinosaur or a shape poem.
There are plenty of opportunities to link dinosaurs with writing including persuasive writing and narrative texts. Have students argue why dinosaurs should or shouldn't be alive today!
Saving the best for last is having students become paleontologists! Students create hand fossils as they learn about how fossils are created and then dig them up using tools like those of paleontologists. The procedure for hand fossils is available in the package. A great video to watch first on paleontology is linked below.
Bonus idea for reading this far! Use chalk and 1m rules on a basketball court to map out the rough shape of a lifesize dinosaur to show their size to students. How many students tall were they? How many students could fit inside the dinosaur?