This term we finished our literacy unit early so my class decided that they wanted to learn all about dinosaurs! We started off our unit by introducing the word ‘schema’ and I have been pleasantly surprised at their capacity to use their new vocabulary in context. Each of the kiddies got a post-it note (I’m slightly obsessed with them!) and they had to draw something that they already knew about dinosaurs.
We then read some dinosaur information texts and explored their structures. This ‘first encyclopedia of dinosaurs’ book was the best money I have ever spent! Seriously, it is jam packed with information that is relevant and interesting to 4 and 5 year old kiddies. Each day, we would read a new page and respond to our new understandings either through pictures, words or both.
We also had some dinosaur figurines which many of the boys used during our Learning Play time. They made volcanoes with blocks and collected sand from the sandpit so that they could create a mini dinosaur environment.
This week, we learnt all about Triceratops! We watched a cool clip from youtube (below) and read a page from our encyclopedia. Most of the kiddies thought he was carnivorous because of his scary appearance and were quite surprised to learn that they were herbivores.
I gave all of the kids a strip of white paper where they wrote an interesting fact. We then made a collage Triceratops using my own example as a guide. A know a lot of teachers give the kids templates to cut out but I love how individual their collages turn out when it’s a free for all! Didn’t they do an awesome job? I was so proud of them.
We have been talking about fossils from the beginning but this week we focused on them a little more. We learnt about the fossilisation process and will wind up our term next week when we focus on Paleontologists or Palaentologists – who knows which spelling is correct? Anyway, we ordered several bones from longest to shortest or tallest to shortest during numeracy time this week. This was a favourite among many of the kids!
On Wednesday, we had a dinosaur activity day where I set up a few different activities for the kids to complete. To say they had fun would be an understatement! My wonderful teacher aide sat with the fossil group to make sure everything ran smoothly. I think this was probably THE most favourite activity that we have done at school to date haha
My main activity was the skeleton resist paintings because the kids really love to splatter paint everywhere so I monitored this closely. I thought I had taken more photos but I only have the one. The kids drew a skeleton using crayons and then painted over their drawing with brown watercolours. They actually thought that I was magical when I showed them my example!
This was probably my favourite activity – choc chip cookie excavating! The kids imagined that the choc chips were fossils trapped in a layer of dirt and had to use toothpicks to excavate the fossils very carefully. I can honestly say that there was more eating than excavating going on at this station!
Next was the imagination station! We have been enjoying a cute Sesame Street video featuring Elmo and his pet dinosaur so the kids thought it was pretty fun to imagine having their own pet dinosaur. I’m having some issues with lazy colouring and drawing though so any suggestions on how to curb this behaviour would be very helpful! I’m thinking of doing some dinosaur drawing classes next week.
And last but certainly not least, dinosaur footprint measuring!! This activity was kindly suggested by Stef over at Miss Galvin Learns and what a great idea it was. The kids had so much fun using dinosaur footprints as a nonstandard measurement tool. We actually haven’t done much work on measurement this year so it was so great to see the kids experimenting with ways to measure.
In our classroom, we use a lot of youtube clips for movement breaks throughout the day and this is definitely their favourite at the moment – it’s a dance along dinosaur stomp song!
That just about sums up some of our dinosaur activities from the past few weeks. It has been so nice having some extra time in our week to learn about things that the kids desperately wanted to learn about. We’re also having an excursion to a dinosaur exhibition at our local museum later in the year but I think I’ll save that as a surprise for my already over excitable children 😉
If you’re looking for some inspiration for a dinosaur unit, you might be interested in my Discovering Dinosaurs unit on TPT. It is packed with hands on activities, black line masters, graphic organisers, craft activities and so much more!