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
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
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
At the Mathematics Center, the students
- 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.
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
3. complete Activity - Class Favorite Dinosaur.
- 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.
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
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
A Day in the Life of DINO, the Tyrannosaurus, or a dinosaur of their
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.
- Appendix A - Dinosaur
- Appendix B - Dinosaur Shape Book
- Appendix C - Geometric Dinosaurs
- Fossil Matching
- Class Favorite Dinosaur