unit is designed to introduce students to a wide variety of information about
dinosaurs. The dinosaur theme will
be incorporated into a cross-section of curriculum areas over several weeks.
The culminating event will incorporate information learned into a play to
be performed by the students.
students find dinosaurs interesting, and have a curiosity about these creatures.
There are many myths and misconceptions that will also be explored as a
part of this unit.
2 ˝ weeks: approximately 1 hour/day
York State Learning Standards:
1: Language for Information and Understanding.
Listening and reading to acquire information and understanding involves
collecting data, facts, and ideas; discovering relationships, concepts, and
generalizations and using knowledge from oral, written and electronic sources.
Speaking and writing to acquire and transmit information requires asking proving
and clarifying questions, interpreting information in one’s own words,
applying information from n e contest to another, and presenting the information
and interpretation clearly, concisely, and comprehensibly.
2: Language for Literary Response and Expression.
and reading for literary response involves comprehending, interpreting, and
critiquing imaginative texts in every medium, drawing on personal experiences
and knowledge to understand the text, and recognizing the social, historical and
cultural features of the text.
Speaking and writing for literary response involves presenting interpretations,
analyses, and reactions to the content and language of a text.
Speaking and writing for literary expression involves producing
imaginative texts that use language and text structures that are inventive and
4: The Living Environment.
Individual organisms and species change over time.
Standard 1: Creating, Performing, and Participating
in the Arts.
Students will create and perform theatre pieces as well as
improvisational drama. They will
understand and use the basic elements of theatre in their characterizations,
improvisations, and play writing. Students
will engage in individual and group theatrical and theatre-related tasks, and
will describe the various roles and means of creating, performing, and producing
Key Idea 1
Visual Arts: Students will make woks of
art that explore different kinds of subject matter, topics, themes, and
metaphors. Students will understand
and use sensory elements, organizational principles and expressive images to
communicate their own ideas, in works of art.
Students will use a variety of art materials, processes, mediums, and
techniques, and use appropriate technologies for creating and exhibit visual art
-Students will be asked to call upon their prior
knowledge about dinosaurs to encourage their interest and participation in the
-Through the use of literature related to
dinosaurs, students will make inferences and predictions about the stories.
will develop an understanding of realistic stories vs. fantasy stories.
a variety of writing exercises, students will have the opportunity to use
research skills and imaginative skills to develop their own stories.
will learn about several types of dinosaurs (what they ate, their habitat and
other interesting facts).
will learn about fossils, and the fact that scientists have inferred the size
and shape of dinosaurs from fossilized bones.
will understand how paleontologists dig up fossils, as they will have the
opportunity to use different tools to dig for their own fossils.
will develop an understanding of the time/space relationship related to the time
when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
will develop an understanding of the theories related to the extinction of the
Standards for the Arts:
will create dinosaur projects that will be displayed in the room, in the hall
and on bulletin boards.
will draw a “fantasy dinosaur” hatching from a colorful egg that they will
create. This activity will be in
conjunction with a writing activity.
will participate in the creation of the
costumes for a theatrical performance related to dinosaurs.
will participate in the creation of the costumes for a theatrical performance related to dinosaurs.
will sing a variety of songs in their dinosaur play.
Many approaches will be utilized as part of this unit including the following:
input, discussion, comments and questions.
brought from outside school such as: fossils; clay for making fossils; play doh
for playtime; dinosaur figurines for display and play; and dinosaur coloring
books/riddles/dot to dot worksheets.
display of dinosaur books.
displays of art work in the hallway, and in the room (including bulletin
movies and dinosaur music that is sung on a regular basis (great teaching
unit, students will receive dinosaur riddles and various puzzles and dot to dots
on their desks every morning.
Plans for Week 1:
the 2nd grade science book (Science by Silver Burdett &
Ginn), we will begin reading the chapter entitled “Animals of Long Ago.” Time frame: 15 min.
then have a discussion about the kinds of dinosaurs they are familiar with.
Time frame: 5 min.
will sing the “Dinosaur Toes” song. This
song was written by Lindsay Nesheim, and has a book and cassette tape to go
along with it.
Time frame: 10 min.
Students will start making a dinosaur folder to
use for the materials they will receive as part of the unit.
They will color a dinosaur picture and attach it to the front of a large
piece of construction paper (folded into a folder).
Language Arts: Reading: ˝ hour
Prior to reading the book entitled “Patrick’s Dinosaurs” by Carol Carrick, students will be introduced to the lesson by brainstorming what they know about dinosaurs (K-W-L).
information that students come up with will be posted throughout the unit.
As children learn more and more, the information they initially came up
with will be adjusted as necessary.
We will continue to read in the Science textbook. The portion of the textbook we will be reading gives information about both the plant-eating dinosaurs and the meat-eating dinosaurs.
Time frame: 15 min.
follow up to what children read in the science textbook, they will make a model
of a dinosaur head, and will have the option of creating either a meat-eating
dinosaur or a plant-eating dinosaur. The
objective of this lesson is to help them understand that scientists have
inferred what dinosaurs ate from the shape of their teeth.
This activity is from Harcourt Brace’s “Science Museum: Unit E
Dinosaur Museum.” In addition,
the following information from the same source will be provided to the students:
dinosaurs were plant eaters. Those
that were low to the ground, such as Stegosaurus, ate ground –level plants.
The giant sauropods, including Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus, and Apatosaurus,
used their long necks to reach treetop greenery.
dinosaurs were meat eaters. Meat
eaters included the little Compsognathus, the fierce Allosaurus, and the king of
them all, Tyrannosaurus Rex. Surprisingly,
the meat eaters were not the biggest dinosaurs. That distinction belonged to the plant-eating sauropods.
A Toothy Grin
Materials needed: Pattern sheets (Click here)
Crayons or markers for coloring
Colored paper to be used for the
dinosaur’s eye (or the eye can
color the dinosaur head and jaw, making the dinosaur as interesting as possible.
An eye can either be drawn on, or one can be cut out of construction
head and jaw are cut out.
student chooses either a plant-eating dinosaur, or a meat-eating dinosaur’s
teeth and glues the teeth to the backside of the dinosaur model (the side that
the head and jaw together.
the interesting dinosaur creations!
Time frame: 20-30 min.
Language Arts: Reading & The Arts: ˝ hour
will begin practicing the songs and the echo reading activity that will be used
in the theatrical performance.
Language Arts & The Arts: 1 hour
entitled “What Happened to Patrick’s Dinosaurs” will be read to the
students. Students will be
encouraged to make comments about the book, including what the text and pictures
in the book seem to convey.
Time frame: 15 min.
will brainstorm a list of dinosaur-related
words. Each student will make a
book out of construction paper which will be
a “Dinosaur Dictionary.” Students
will list the
words they have come up with in their booklet.
words can be accessed when they begin the writing activities that are a part of
Time frame: 25 min.
will continue to practice the songs for their performance. They will also practice reading the choral reading and the
echo reading that they will be performing.
frame: 20 min.
will watch the video entitled “What Ever Happened to the Dinosaurs?” (1992) Western
Publishing Company, Inc. Racine, Wisconsin.
time: 31 minutes
be a discussion about the various theories presented when the video is complete.
Time frame: 10 min.
Language Arts: Reading & Writing: 1 hour
“What Happened to Patrick’s Dinosaurs?” that was read on day 4 will be
reviewed. The concept of Fantasy
vs. Realism will be reviewed with the students:
Realistic stories describe characters and settings that could happen in
real life. Fantasy stories have
characters and/or settings that could never happen in real life.
The characters in a fantasy say and do things that real people or animals
never do. Children will be asked to
determine whether the story “What Happened to Patrick’s Dinosaurs?” is a
realistic or a fantasy story. Once
they determine that it is a fantasy story, they will need to give some reasons
why they came to that conclusion.
will be shown several sentence strips with real and fantasy dinosaur information
on them. For example:
dinosaurs were meat-eaters.
dinosaurs had sharp teeth.
drove convertible cars.
loved to bowl.
lived millions of years ago.
students have determined whether the sentence strips are realistic or fantasy,
the strips will be put on a bulletin board underneath a picture of either a real
or fantasy dinosaur.
will then create their own real/fantasy sentence strips to add to the bulletin
Time frame: ˝ hour
will be introduced to the meaning of the word dinosaur (Terrible Lizard).
This information will be added to their “Dinosaur Dictionary.”
The fantasy dinosaur on the bulletin board will be named (its name is “Snorkelasaurus”,
as it is dressed for the beach, and using a snorkel…teachers can create any
fantasy dinosaur they’d like). As
part of the writing activity, students will be given a four-block writing
template. Students will need to
create their own fantasy dinosaur (fantasy “saurus”)…such as stripeasaurus,
spotasaurus, etc. As part of the
writing activity, students will provide a variety of details about their fantasy
will begin their story with the sentence:
make-believe dinosaur is called a ________ saurus.
fill in the blank before “saurus”)
here for samples
will then write two sentences per block that
provide more detailed information about their
This process will take several days.
What my dinosaur looks like:
The size of my dinosaur:
What my dinosaur eats:
Where my dinosaur lives:
Time frame: ˝ hour
Science: DIGGING DINOSAURS:
To provide information about fossils, and to
demonstrate how paleontologists work to dig up fossils.
A brief discussion about fossils and paleontologists will be the initial motivator. Students will learn a song about fossils to help “set the stage” for the science activity.
Part 1: An explanation of the kinds of fossils will be given to children:
The highlighted words will be added to the student’s Dinosaur Dictionary.
Shows what is left when a plant or animal is pressed against something, a
process that works like a rubber stamp.
The actual parts of a plant or animal that have hardened.
are fossils important?: They provide
clues about animals that lived on the earth long ago.
all plants and animals become fossils?:
No…most plants and animals decompose and break down (disintegrate) into the
Dinosaur Bones (fossil remains): The
activity we’ll practice today. The
dinosaur bones are not connected when they are dug up.
They are usually scattered. So
scientists must put the bones together…like a puzzle.
Is a scientist who learns about the past by digging up and studying
Children will listen to and learn the song “Fossils and Footprints”, which
is one of the songs the children will be singing in our Dinosaur play.
Dissecting a chocolate chunk cookie:
Students will be like paleontologists, and must dissect the cookie without breaking the chunks of chocolate…pretending the chocolate chunks are the scattered dinosaur bones. The students will count the number of chunks they find.
The number of chunks each student finds will be graphed.
The conclusion will be the graphing activity. Evaluation will involve checking for understanding during the lesson.
Cassette player for the music.
For the chocolate chunk dissecting activity, children will need:
v a paper plate (to put cookie on)
v a chocolate chip or chocolate chunk cookie (store-bought cookies with larger chips work best. Be sure the cookies are not too soft)
v a toothpick and a paint brush (to carefully remove the chips/chunks)
v When the activity is finished, children can be given an intact cookie to eat!
Lesson Plans for Week
English Language Arts:
The book entitled “Can You Say Pterodactyl?” will be read.
This book can be accessed on the Internet (for subscribers) by going to www.readinga-z.com.
Some of the myths about dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals will be
Pterodactyl (meaning “winged finger”) was actually a flying prehistoric
reptile, and not a dinosaur!
Students will receive a handout for their dinosaur unit folder, which
contains information about many other myths.
Those myths will be reviewed. Information
for this part of the lesson was obtained from the Internet at:
A Venn Diagram will be used to compare the pterodactyl with the duck and
the wren, which are the birds mentioned in the story.
frame: 30 min.
Students will continue writing about their make-believe
dinosaurs using the four-block writing template.
frame: 30 min.
Please note that the activity below will take place throughout the remainder of the unit. Students will have the opportunity to practice the play on the stage for 3 or 4 days prior to the performance:
Students will continue to practice the play and learn new songs each day
for approximately 15-30 minutes per day.
Students will have the opportunity to make their own clay fossils.
Materials needed include:
Play clay: The recipe below
produces clay that can be used over and over again and it will remain pliant for
weeks. Some of the clay is kept in
the room for students to use for sculpting dinosaurs.
Some will be used to make the fossils in this activity, and will be
allowed to dry. Drying time is 3-5
teaspoon vegetable oil
teaspoon cream of tartar
Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan and cook over medium heat
until the mixture holds together (keep mixing or it will stick to the bottom of
the pan). When the clay is cool
enough to touch, it can be kneaded on a floured board.
Storage: Stored in an
airtight container, this dough will last—refrigerated or unrefrigerated—for
two to four weeks.
Small plastic dinosaurs
Small paper plates
Each student is given some clay on a small paper plate (the clay was
made ahead of time by the teacher). Dinosaur
figures are gently pressed into the clay to form an impression.
The fossils dry for several days in the classroom before students take
frame: 15-20 min.
English Language Arts: Reading & Writing
will partner read: “Can You Say Pterodactyl?”
finished reading, each child will make a flip chart out
a large piece of construction paper. There
will be 5 cuts in
paper with the letters ar er
ur on the front.
must look through the book and find words that
this combination of letters in them. Those
written underneath the letters (for example, for the word
dinosaur, the section with the letters ur will flip up and the student will write the word dinosaur there).
Time frame: ˝ hour
Students will continue writing about their make-believe dinosaurs. Some students will be ready to write their final copy.
frame: ˝ hour
Students will receive a variety of materials including:
Skin Tight Handout:
Information about dinosaur skin color.
Students will be able to color two dinosaurs.
A poem for the students to read.
Prehistoric Animals Word
frame: 20 min.
entitled “The Tinosaur” will be read to the
students. This book is
available to subscribers of Reading a-z.
Available on the Internet at:
the book is read, the students will brainstorm a list of things from the story
that indicate fact, and a list of things that indicate fantasy.
Time frame: 25 min.
will continue with their fantasy dinosaur story.
students who have completed the written portion of their story will begin a
drawing of their fantasy dinosaur, using construction paper and crayons.
frame: 35 min.
will continue to complete their fantasy dinosaur pictures.
Then they will make a colorful egg using construction paper and crayons.
Their fantasy dinosaur will hatch out of the egg.
The egg should be colored first and then cut in the middle in a zigzag
pattern. A fastener is placed on
one side of the egg, and the fantasy dinosaur is glued to the back of the egg as
if it is hatching.
Time frame: ˝ hour
will partner read “The Tinosaur.” They
will list the following words (senses):
Feel, Hear, Taste, Smell, and Touch on s sheet of paper or
in a flipbook. They will need to
imagine they are in the story, and write down how their senses would be
the science activity, the students will help make:
“Dinosaur Delight” (Dirt Dessert)
Cool Whip or instant chocolate
Crush Oreos and mix with Cool Whip
Place some gummy dinosaurs in the
of a plastic cup, and add the “dirt” on top.
Children can be like paleontologists
for the dinosaurs in the bottom of the cup
Time frame: 30 min.
Plans for Week 3:
Language Arts: Writing
will be given a form to follow that will enable them to research a specific type
of dinosaur they are interested in. Students
may use a number of resources including: the Internet; handouts they have
received throughout the unit; posters displayed in the room; reference guides;
and other books available in the library or the classroom.
Time frame: 1 hour
writing activity will involve creating a classroom book of all the fantasy
dinosaur stories that the students have created.
will be the week that the students will get lots of time to practice their
performance as well!!
play and songs appear at the end of the unit.
One evaluation technique will involve making corrections to the students’ original brainstorming list (about their knowledge of dinosaurs). This will be an ongoing activity throughout the unit.
introducing a new concept, I will check for understanding, and clear up any
misinformation students seem to have.
writing activity about a specific dinosaur will offer an opportunity to be sure
the students have been careful about their research…by giving accurate
students who have materials from home that will enhance learning will be
encouraged to share them. Their
enthusiasm will hopefully help to meet the objectives of the unit as well.
Aliki (1969). My Visit to the Dinosaurs. New
York. Thomas Y. Crowell Company.
Mary (1990). Daniel’s Dinosaurs. New York.
Carol (1983). Patrick’s
Dinosaurs. New York.
Clarion Books/Ticknor & Fields.
Jasper (1984). Dinosaurs. New
Darlene (1981). The Big-Little Dinosaur. USA.
Grosset & Dunlap, Inc.
Norma (1993). Dig A Dinosaur. Washington.
Wright Group Publishing, Inc.
James & Horner, John (1985). Maia: A
Dinosaur Grows Up. Montana.
Museum of the
Judith & Evan Jay (1999). Four Square Writing
Method: A Unique Approach to Teaching Basic
Illinois. Teaching & Learning
Brace ((1995). Teacher’s Guide: Science
Anytime: Unit E Dinosaur Museum.
Sarah & Mackay, David (1987). A
Diplodocus in the Garden.
California. The Wright Group
Sarah & Mackay, David (1987). Brachiosaurus
In The River.
California. The Wright Group.
Sarah & Mackay, David (1987). Dinosaurs
California. The Wright
Sarah & Mackay, David ((1987). Pterodactyl
At The Airport. California.
The Wright Group.
Sarah & Mackay, David ((1987). Triceratops
On The Farm. California. The Wright Group.
Hobhouse, Sarah & Mackay, David ((1987).
Tyrannosaurus The Terrible.
(1962). Stanley. New York. Harper & Row
John ((1972). I Can Read About Dinosaurs.
W.Ryerson ((1972). I Like
Connecticut. E.M. Hale and Company.
J.P. (1954). From Then to Now.
York. Simon and Shuster, Inc.
Steven (1988). Tiny Dinosaurs. Wisconsin.
Western Publishing Company, Inc.
George G., Mallinson, Jacqueline B.,
Smallwood, William L. & Valentino, Catherine (1987).
Elementary Science Program. Lexington,
Massachusetts. Silver Burdett & Ginn.
Nesheim, Lindsay (1995). Dinosaur Toes. Washington.
Wright Group Publishing, Inc.
Pallotta, Jerry (1991). The Dinosaur Alphabet
Massachusetts. Charlesbridge Publishing.
Jack (1988). Tyrannosaurus Was A
Beast: Dinosaur Poems. New York. William
Morrow & Company, Inc.
Zallinger, Peter (1978). Prehistoric Animals.
New York. Random House, Inc.
T.V. and VCR
Video tape: “What Ever Happened to
Cassette tape player
Internet (the Madrid-Waddington
to various dinosaur websites as
the unit). The website can be
Click here for songs and play Back to Dinosaur Page Back to 2nd Grade