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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
-Class Favorite Dinosaur
-Fossil Matching
-Appendix A - Dinosaur
-Appendix B - Dinosaur Shape Book
-Appendix C - Geometric Dinosaurs
Lesson 5: Meat and Plant Eaters
Lesson 6: The Dinosaur's Life Cycle
Lesson 7: Nature and Change
Spanish Language Translations

Dinosaurs - Lesson 4: Types of Dinosaurs

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: There were many different kinds of dinosaurs. We can use geometric shapes to draw their pictures.

Whole Group Activities

  • Illustrations of at least five dinosaur types, see Appendix A - Dinosaur
  • Copies of these illustrations made on heavy paper, cut into three to five jigsaw parts, depending on the number of children who are going to be "fossils"; color code each of the dinosaurs to help keep the parts together and place in baggies
  • Hats/caps for the paleontologists
  • Tapes of new dinosaur books for students to listen to and "read" for the Listening or Reading Centers

Encountering the Idea

If you went to the zoo, what would you expect to find? (Students give responses.) Yes, that would be a good zoo if it had all those different kinds of animals. What would you think of a zoo that had only monkeys? Well, it wouldn't be very exciting. What if it had only tigers? The same thing. In the time of the dinosaurs, the earth was like a zoo -- many animals were living on it. There were many dinosaurs and there were different kinds -- many different shapes and sizes. They not only looked different from each other, but they also ate different food. But there is one thing that was the same for all of them, and that is one of the things we will discover today.

Exploring the Idea

The children study pictures of at least five dinosaur types, noting different body features of the different dinosaurs. Discuss the features and why those features may have been important to the dinosaur's survival.
At the Science Center, students

1. review and can repeat Activity - Fossil Matching; students observe the features of the fossil to match with the imagined picture of the corresponding dinosaur.
2. complete Activity - Looking for Fossils, as below.

Make jigsaw puzzles out of different dinosaur shapes; color-code each of the dinosaurs to help keep the parts together and place in baggies
Hats/caps for the paleontologists


  • Assign students to be either "fossils" (jigsaw dinosaur body parts) or "paleontologists".
  • Each student is given a hat to wear if he or she is a paleontologist; other students are given fossil parts.
  • Those holding the fossil parts hide while the paleontologists look for them. The paleontologists work in small groups to "fit the fossil parts."
  • Students take turns in the different roles. They report their "findings" to the class.
At the Mathematics Center, the students
1. name and identify geometric shapes such as: circle, square, rectangle, diamond, and triangle. They use the shapes to draw several dinosaurs. See Appendix C- Geometric Dinosaurs.
2. complete Activity - Dinosaur Math Links, as below.

Pictures of different-size dinosaurs - See Appendix A- Dinosaur
Several linking counters or paper clips to measure the pictures


  • Working in pairs, the students make link chains (using paper clips or any of the commercially made linking counters) to the length of the dinosaurs in the pictures given to the students.
  • Each student measures his/her dinosaur with the counters.
  • The paired students say which chain, and which dinosaur, is longer by comparing the chains side-by-side, i.e., matching them one-to-one.
  • The paired students say how much longer or how much shorter each dinosaur is by counting the unmatched links.
3. complete Activity - Class Favorite Dinosaur.

Getting the Idea

How many different types of dinosaurs have we studied? Yes, there were many different kinds on earth before they became extinct. Were they all the same size? No, some were small and some were very large. How do we know that some were small and some were large? Yes, paleontologists have found bones of different shapes and different sizes. The shapes of the bones tell scientists many things. For example, if the bones were large, then the animals had to be large. If the footprints were small, then the animals were small.

Where did we have to go to find fossils? Fossils have been found in swamps, in mountains, and in many other places. What tools have to be used to find them?

Ask the students to repeat the names of the different dinosaur types. Which ones were the small ones? The large ones? The carnivores? The herbivores?

When you used your geometric shapes to construct the dinosaurs, which shapes were easy to use? Yes, the ones with straight lines are easy to use because you can fit them together. What about the circular shapes? Yes, if you fit the circles together, there are some spaces left over. You can combine the different geometric shapes to make new shapes.

At the Listening Center, the students listen to tapes and "read" tapes of one or two of the new books.

Organizing the Idea

1. Make a language chart to record the students' report from Activity - Looking for Fossils, with headings: Name of Dinosaur, Eats, and Habitat
2. At the Writing Center, the children use illustrations from their whole group work to write about their favorite dinosaurs, other prehistoric animals and/or plants. This work goes into their journals. See Appendix B - Dinosaur Shape Book.

Note: There were no flying dinosaurs or swimming dinosaurs. Those are flying reptiles and prehistoric marine animals.

Closure and Assessment

Class sings to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot." Repeat the chorus after each verse.

I'm a Brontosaurus with four feet.
I eat plants, but don't eat meat.
Known as Thunder Lizard, that is true.
'Cause when I walked, the earth just shook.

Tyrannosaurus Rex's my name.
King of the dinosaurs, that I am.
I make many run and hide.
'Cause I'm mean and like to fight.

Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs, that we know.
Some were large, some were small.
Fossils tell us this is so,
'Cause I've not seen one after all.

I'm Triceratops, with three horns.
A big, big head, and frilly bones.
I'm a fierce fighter, on four feet.
But I eat plants, 'cause they are neat.

At the Drama Center the students develop and act out a play with the title:
A Day in the Life of DINO, the Tyrannosaurus, or a dinosaur of their choice.

Oral Interview
1. What is the name of your favorite dinosaur? Why did you pick that one as your favorite?
2. Which of the dinosaurs that we have studied was the largest? The smallest? How do you know?
3. How are the different kinds of dinosaurs alike? How are they different?
4. How many different dinosaurs have we studied?

Assess for mastery of the Big Ideas students' work on Appendix B - Dinosaur Shape Book and participation in and level of completion of Activity - Class Favorite Dinosaur.

List of Activities for this Lesson

  1. Appendix A - Dinosaur
  2. Appendix B - Dinosaur Shape Book
  3. Appendix C - Geometric Dinosaurs
  4. Fossil Matching
  5. Class Favorite Dinosaur

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