We just finished up a week learning about dinosaurs and boy did we have A BLAST! As this was the week before our spring break, I really wanted to make it fun, engaging, and use this “theme” to review and practice many of the skills that we had been working on. Throughout the week, we reviewed informational text features, reading words with long and short vowels in them, practiced reading and spelling sight words, and practiced recognizing, reading, and making the numbers 1-100.
On Friday, I planned a Dinosaur Day for my students to send us off into spring break with a bang. Before school started Friday morning, I placed dinosaur cards all over the hallway where our classroom is and lined the bottom of the wall with “grass.” (The dinosaur cards were made by Renae and Jason from the blog Every Star Is Different and are free here: http://www.everystarisdifferent.com/2014/06/dinosaur-unit-w-free-printables.html)
Our first challenge had my students work on using informational text features, deductive reasoning, math and language skills to become master paleontologists. I prepared four sheets of questions where my students had to find a dinosaur that fit the specific criteria of the question. I printed each page on a different color and gave one to our administrative assistant and one to our principal. I gave my students their first and last question page. I told my students that in order to become master paleontologists that they would have to successfully complete each level of the challenge. Each level increased in difficulty.
On each page, my students had to read the sentence prompts and find a dinosaur that fit the specific criteria.
My students walked the hallway looking to find a dinosaur that answered each prompt. Once they wrote three dinosaur names, they would get their page checked by the person who gave them the questions, and then “level up” to the next person and page.
My students worked so hard to become master paleontologists!
I love how this activity worked on SO many skills! (reading, writing, using text features, number sense, critical thinking, etc.) I also loved how my students helped each other out while filling out their recording pages.
This activity took us about 40+ minutes and then we ate snack. While my students were eating snack, my principal hid puzzle piece fossils all over our field. (I’ll link the puzzles that I used at the end of the blog post.) I told my students (to turn on their “make believe hats”) and that they were never going to believe it. I told them that thank goodness they were now all master paleontologists because last night, the fossils of three different dinosaurs were found on our field and it was our job to put them together and figure out what types of dinosaurs they were!
We got out to the field and I sat my students down and explained the expectations. As our field is close to a few major roads I told them that they were only allowed to run on the grass area and could only bring back ONE fossil at a time. (That way everyone would be able to find a few.) They were so excited to find all the fossils! After a quick, “ready, set, go” they were off running and looking for the fossils!
We placed all of the fossils in a pile and once we found them all, we got into three teams.
My students sorted the fossils by the dinosaur type: Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and Tyrannosaurs Rex and then got to work putting each puzzle together.
It really took teamwork to complete the puzzles!
They worked so hard to complete their puzzles and every group was successful!
They really enjoyed that the puzzles were double sided and LOVED flipping them over to reveal the dinosaurs!
My amazing paleontologists behind their completed fossils!
After this super fun and challenging task it was time for lunch and specials. When my students came back to the classroom, they were greeted with a dinosaur snack.
We reviewed how fossils were formed and I told them that in each cup, hidden underneath the layers of earth (chocolate pudding, crushed chocolate and vanilla sandwich cookies), they would each find a different dinosaur. Boy were the excited to dig their dinosaur out!
They had to identify the dinosaur that they found and then we wrote about it.
We ended the day in our discovery lab where my students enjoyed tracing dinosaur stencils, digging for dinosaur bones in sand, and building dinosaurs with building tools.
It truly was a magical day and such a great way to begin our spring break!!
“BEST DAY EVER!!!!”
Items I purchased for our dinosaur day:
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