Dinosaur Science

Did you know that a T-rex could open it’s mouth 10 feet long! Place some paper on the floor (if you have the prep time you can make this from butcher paper and add teeth) or you can use regular construction paper tape it to the floor and measure each child inside the “mouth” to see if they will be a meal or a snack. How many children does it take to fill up the dinosaur’s mouth?

Draw a dinosaur footprint on a large sheet of butcher paper. Have each child place one foot inside the footprint and trace around it. See how many you can fit just inside the footprint. You should be able to get approximately 19 to 20 footprints of 3 to 5 year olds. Ask them to guess how many feet they think it will hold and graph the results in your science area.

Cut pieces of yarn into 1 foot lengths. Have the children line the pieces of yarn along the floor to measure the length of the dinosaurs. For example, they would line up 10 pieces of yarn for a 10 foot dinosaur. They can use books to get the measurements. They love to see which dinosaurs would be able to fit in our classroom!

For a science project for my 4’s and 5’s, we recently “grew’ a dinosaur! I bought a growing dinosaur egg from Tho World of Science store in our mall. You simply place the egg in warm water in a large container and it grows into a dinosaur in four days! We charted this week-long project beginning on Monday at circle time. After I read Dinosaur Valley, I intro’d the egg. We all filled the container, placed the egg in and the discussions began! What would happen? Would the egg sink/float? Would it fizzle? Would it change colors? Tuesday we charted the egg cracking open, Wed. the Dino emerged and stated looking like a triceratops(we named it David the Dinosaur) and Thurs.it was fully emerged and had grown overnight four times its size! What fun to take it out and touch it! Observations were: The water is cold now, the egg is apart not together, the dino is slippery, he has three horns etc.. Such a fun project–What great circle times!! P.S.–Our chart filled the outside wall of our hallway, decorated with stamped dinosaurs in paint. A REAL eye catcher for parents!!!!

In our preschool room, we concentrate on dinosaurs for well over a month. One of the children’s favorite science activities is to make dinosaur fossils. I go to the supermarket and ask the butcher in the meat department for styrofoam meat trays (one for each child) (Editors note: make sure that you get unused meat trays. ) We then give each child a large ball of regular clay (not playdough). The children like rolling out this different textured art media flat. They are then given a choice of different play plastic dinosaurs to choose from to make their fossil prints. All they have to do is press the foot of the dinosaur into the clay, so they have different types of dinosaur footprints. We write on the tray which imprint each dinosaur made. The children love to guess which dinosaur each footprint came from. After the clay has hardened after a few days, the children have a realistic fossil to bring home!

Ask your parents for donations of paper towel and bathroom tissue rolls. Have the children paint them white. Use your overhead projector to make a large dinosaur cutout. Give each several tissue rolls and let them decide where they should be placed to look like bones. After you have laid them all out help the children to glue them down. I have done this with my 3-5 yr. olds and they loved it!