Dinosaur Babies and Fossils

Cakki Bills & Jenny Gilliam

I. Description :

This lesson is designed to help the students understand that there can be different types of fossils and to be able to identify some, and it also will discuss baby dinosaurs and how large they were in real life.

II. Grade Level:

First Grade-

2nd Grade Standard #3 in Alabama Course of Study. Pg. 28.

2nd Grade Standard #22 in Alabama Course of Study. Pg. 31.

III. Background Information:

In this lesson we are trying to give the students a sense of time. Millions of years ago is an extremely long time, and children this young don't have a good grasp of time. Indirectly, we are having the children think about time by challenging them to think about this earth million of years ago, and understand the different animals that existed then.

Dinosaurs are a very interesting subject for kindergartner's and first graders, so in this lesson we are able too effectively teach about the different characteristics ( such as size, shape and color) of these great animals. They will get a good idea of how dinosaurs changed the earth and how the earth changed them. Though we won't relate this exactly, we will essentially be trying to get across to the students the idea that even today we change the earth and the earth changes us. For an example, if all of a sudden we used up all the earth's resources such as oil, water, food, and trees, we would not be able to survive because of how we had changed the earth. Thus the earth, because of its resources being gone, would cause us to die and become extinct. We will also address the word "extinct," and talk about its definition. We will come to the conclusion that it is when an animal no longer exists. Then we will discuss what sorts of things can become fossils making sure to point out that a variety of things such as: plants, shells, and bones can all be fossils.

The dinosaur eggs give an introduction to reproduction, the life cycle, and how different animals reproduce. Though without the students necessarily knowing it, we will be introducing them to the concept of how a life begins. By categorizing the eggs, students will begin to understand organization and it's importance. They will recognize the fact that there are many ways to organize and categorize things, and they will learn the social skills of working together to accomplish this.

The fossils in the lesson will help the student's to believe the facts, and understand how scientists know that dinosaurs did actually exist millions of years ago. It will hopefully motivate them to find out how scientists go about analyzing and categorizing to come up with conclusions. The fossils will also show them that the earth has it's own way of keeping a record of time, and it allows us to look back and learn about it. By seeing fossils of animals, plants, and shells the students will understand that a fossil can be a variety of things from the past.

IV. Concepts Covered in the Lesson:

The students will be able to:

-Categorize dinosaur eggs by dominant characteristics.

2nd Grade Standard #3 in Alabama Course of Study. Pg. 28

-understand that fossils can be a variety of things such as shells, bones, or plants.

2nd Grade Standard #22 in Alabama Course of Study. Pg. 31.

V. Materials & Equipment:

-Play Doh


-Crayons & Construction paper

-Fossils of animals and plants

-3 buttons

-3 coins

-3 leafs

-3 rocks

VI. Procedures:

1. Begin with the leading question to test the student's previous knowledge including questions such as: What do you think a dinosaur look like? Can anyone tell me what the dinosaurs ate? Do you think dinosaurs had babies? Can you tell me any animals on the earth today that might look like a dinosaur?

2. Review facts about fossils from the previous lesson dealing with Paleontology, and ask them what types of fossils they might find on a dig. Point out to the students that a fossil can be in the form of shells, leaves, plants, bones, etc…. Also, discuss the importance of looking for fossils, and what important information they give us about the past.

3. Tell students to go back to their seats (have paper waiting for them), and ask them to number on their paper one to five. Next, encourage them to look at each fossil imprint (play doh or real) found in front on them and then tell them t write down what they think it is. Again, remind them that a fossils is not only a dinosaur bone. Then the students will rotate from table to table writing down what they believe each fossils imprint is.

4. Then call all the children back to the circle along with their paper. Begin by asking questions about each imprint, and then go down the list and allow them to discuss and then vote on what they believe them imprint was made by. When they are done agreeing on an answer show them what the true imprint was made from.

5. Next, point out the fact that some fossils found today are those of dinosaur eggs. Have books available and pictures available for them to look at. Talk about the different ways dinosaurs nested. Also, discuss the different sizes of the eggs according to the size of the dinosaur. Finally, talk about how the dinosaurs moved in herds. Next, take the balloons out and blow them up in a variety of sizes and colors, and tell the children that these are going to be making believe dinosaur eggs.

6. Instruct the children to close their eyes, and hide the balloons around the classroom. Next, tell the students to open their eyes and find the eggs. After the students have found all the eggs allow them to come back to the circle with the eggs.

7. Once they have sat down have them classify the eggs into categories such as color, size, or texture. This classifying activity will help the students understand the idea of classifying objects according to several different elements.

VII. Assessment:

-Observe students to see if they understand the concept that fossils come in a variety of forms by identifying imprint fossils from plants, shells, and dinosaurs.

-Students are able to categorize the fossil eggs.

VIII. Useful Internet Resources:

AskERIC from http:/ericirsyr.edu/Virtual/Lessons/Science/Natural_history/NHSOO5.


Dinosaur Babies, Fossils, and Make Your Own Dinosaur

This resource has a wonderful lesson dealing with dinosaurs and their fossils. It gave descriptive activities to aid a child in understanding the concepts of fossils and classification.

IX. Science Process Skills

1.) Observing

2.) Analyze

3.) Predicting

4.) Drawing Conclusions

5.) Collecting Data

6.) Communicating

VII. Visuals and Books:

Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff. Harper Festival, 1999.

The Usborn Book of Dinosaurs by Susan Mayes. EDC Publishing.

Ten Little Dinosaurs by Pattie Schnetzler. Thirteenth Printing, 1998.

Critique on "Fossils and Baby Dinosaurs"

The critique on this lesson was very beneficial because Dr. Kamen was able to observe and give me some important feedback. It was encouraging and challenging to hear his critique because some of the things he had noticed I have never thought of before.

The beginning of the lesson went fairly smoothly by asking the students to form a circle on the rug. This practice of forming a circle was easy for them because it was a familiar thing they did everyday. Although this is a familiar practice for them I did have to remind some of the students to scoot up to join the group. I think I notice the "loners" because I myself was one of them at their age, and I remember very vividly being in my own world.

Next, after showing a book about fossils to the students we reviewed previous information the students had learned from the last lesson. Then I described what we were going to do, but I think I could have given more descriptive directions for them to follow. The students were then told to return to their seats to begin the activity.

I then told them to number their papers from one to five, and I designated which tables in the class would represent these numbers. I had planned ahead this time by making the imprints in the play doh beforehand. During the lesson I did not state the concept enough which was that a fossil could be many things. When I did state this concept once I made the mistake of saying that a fossil could be a rock. Later Dr. Kamen reminded me that a fossil could not be a rock because it must be evidence of past life. During each stage of this activity I could have used real fossils instead of the play doh imprints to show and allow the students to identify real life fossils. This hand on experience would have given them something visual to identify a fossil with, which would have been very beneficial.

Some of my instructions in the lesson could have been more direct in nature. I know I have a hard time taking complete control, and it was good to be reminded by Dr. Kamen that it is what I am suppose to do as their teacher.

When called back into the discussion group the children had a wonderful time describing what they thought each fossil was. It was a great problem solving time for them to work together to come to a conclusion. I was able to assess their understanding about dinosaurs by their descriptive characteristics to base their conclusions on what they believed the fossil was.

Joining the next part of the lesson went smoothly, but I do think the actual activity that followed was over their heads. They enjoyed hunting for the eggs, but when it came to categorizing them they were lost. Next time I need to work on introducing this difficult concept beforehand.