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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
Lesson 5: Meat and Plant Eaters
Lesson 6: The Dinosaur's Life Cycle
-Dinosaur Eggs
-Baby Dinosaur
-Dinosaur Weapons
-Shake and Spill
Lesson 7: Nature and Change
Spanish Language Translations

Dinosaurs - Lesson 6: The Dinosaur's Life Cycle

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: Baby dinosaurs hatched from eggs laid by the female dinosaur; the baby dinosaurs grew to be adults. Mathematics also tells us about patterns in the lives of dinosaurs.

Whole Group Activities

  • Books: Chickens Aren't the Only Ones by R. Heller and Eyewitness Book: Dinosaur by D. Norman and A. Milner
  • Chart table or heavy poster board for dictated story about the life cycle of the dinosaurs
  • Prepared deviled "dinosaur" eggs for closing activity (Any deviled egg recipe will do.)
  • For the Mathematics Center: game - Egg-matching activity. Construction paper to make a nest and dinosaur eggs
  • For the Art Center: silhouettes of a baby dinosaur for stuffing. Wads of paper or cotton to stuff the baby dinosaurs. Yarn or string to lace the dinosaurs together
  • For the Science Center a set of laminated, magazine pictures of animals and reptiles; two trays labeled: Reptile and Not Reptile
  • Word tags: reptile; life cycle; pattern; lizard; crocodile; turtle

Encountering the Idea

We have been learning many new things about dinosaurs. One thing we have not talked about is how new dinosaurs were born. What would you guess? How do you think dinosaurs were born? Do you think that they were born live from their mother, like kittens or puppies? Or do you think they hatched from eggs? (Pause for student responses and suggestions.) What does the name "dinosaur" mean? Yes, we said that it means "terrible lizard." So, how do you think lizards are born? We will discover more things about these dinosaurs in our lesson.

Exploring the Idea

Read the title of Chickens Aren't the Only Ones. Ask students what they think the story is about. After they give their suggestions, read the book aloud. After reading, ask: What do you think happens when the dinosaur baby hatches from an egg? Let's write our predictions. Write the students' predictions on a chart to use at the Writing Center at a later time.

At the Science Center the students complete Activity -- Dinosaur Weapons.

At the Mathematics Center the students
1. complete Activity - Dinosaur Eggs and Activity - Shake and Spill
2. sort and count the laminated pictures that show reptiles and those that do not.
3. complete Activity - Dinosaur Patterns, as below.


  • Place plastic models or picture cutouts of different dinosaurs in the Science Center.
  • Students use the models to make different patterns. They describe the patterns to their partners.
At the Art Center the students complete Activity - Baby Dinosaur.

At the Listening Center or the Library Center, students listen to new tapes of dinosaur books and "read" them.

Getting the Idea

What have we learned about how dinosaurs were born? Yes, like present-day reptiles, dinosaurs hatched. Show the word "reptile" using a word tag. Show a picture of a reptile and describe it saying that reptiles: crawl, have four legs, have a cover of scales and lay eggs. Use the set of laminated, magazine pictures of animals and reptiles for students to classify, again, when they continue work in the Mathematics Center.

What do you suppose happened to the baby dinosaurs after they were born? Yes, they had to learn to find food and water. If they were plant eaters, they had to look for the plants they liked. If they were meat eaters, they had to learn to look for prey and catch it. Since they were babies and smaller than the adults, they had to be careful that their natural enemies did not find them and eat them. Soon, they grew to be adults. These young adult dinosaurs mated then, and the female dinosaur laid new eggs in a nest. The eggs hatched, and more dinosaurs were born. This is called a life cycle. New members of a group are born; they grow to mature creatures; they mate and have babies; then they get old and die.

A life cycle is like a pattern. What is the life cycle pattern of the dinosaurs? (Hatch, grow from babies to adults, mate and make new creatures, grow old and die; and then repeat the pattern with the new babies.)

Did all the dinosaurs die of old age, or do you think the dinosaurs had natural enemies? Sometimes some of the larger dinosaurs attacked the smaller ones. Other animals often raided the dinosaurs' nests and ate the eggs. There were also other animals that lived during the time of the dinosaurs, for example, the saber-toothed tigers, the huge bears, and the mastodons that looked like present-day elephants. Those that were herbivores had plenty of plants to eat, and the carnivores preyed on the herbivores.

You made some dinosaur patterns in the Mathematics Center. What did your patterns look like? Did you repeat the same groups of dinosaurs over and over? Some of you may share your patterns with the class.

Students and teacher discuss the birth of dinosaurs and make hypotheses about the eggs - the size, color, texture, and length of time to hatch.

Organizing the Idea

  1. Using the rebus story dictated previously, students sequence the sentences to describe the life cycle of the dinosaur. Tell the students that the sentences will be placed in the Science Center for them to continue to sequence.

  2. Students draw in their journals the patterns they made with the dinosaur shapes. The students also illustrate the life cycle of the dinosaur in their journals, using the words written on the life cycle chart.

  3. At the Drama Center, the students compose and illustrate a play about a baby dinosaur. Then the students act out the story.

Closure and Assessment

Regroup students; use one of the closing activity songs/verses from before.

Oral Interviews
While students eat their deviled eggs, ask:
1. Besides chickens, what else lays eggs?
2. Describe how a dinosaur is born.
3. How big were the baby dinosaurs? Were they as big as you are now?
4. Were they as big as this room? How do we know how big they were?
5. What evidence do we have about their size?
6. What are two characteristics of reptiles that are the same as characteristics of dinosaurs?

1. Students show the four legs of a dinosaur in different combinations such as two and two; one and three; three and one.
2. Students sequence the pictures of a dinosaur's life cycle correctly.
3. Students sort the pictures of reptiles and those that are not reptiles correctly.

List of Activities for this Lesson

  1. Dinosaur Eggs
  2. Baby Dinosaur
  3. Dinosaur Weapons
  4. Shake and Spill

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