The Heroes of Holbrook Academy

The Heroes of Holbrook Academy

Friday, September 2, 2011

Dinosaur Mania For the Second Week

We finished up our 2 week dinosaur unit with a bang!  If it were up to Hayden, we probably would keep studying dinosaurs for the next 2 months, but I decided there are a few other things I want him to learn about first.  Plus, he has other things he wants to learn about as well, and there's only so much I can do in a day!  The cool thing about dinosaurs is that scientists are always discovering something new, and there is SO much information about them, that this could be a topic we revisit every year if we really want to.

We finished up our KWL chart yesterday.  I was very proud of what Hayden learned and what he was able to retain.  Here is what he said he learned:
  • Not all the dinosaurs became extinct.  The flying ones survived and became birds.
  • Plant eaters are herbivores.  Meat eaters are carnivores.  Omnivores eat both.
  • Brachiosaurus was the biggest dinosaur and was in the sauropod family.
  • There were no flowers when the dinosaurs first appeared, and grass did not exist.
  • Dinosaurs first appeared in the Triassic period and disappeared at the end of the Cretaceous.
  • Most of the dinosaurs lived in the Cretaceous period.
We never did learn how long it would take their eggs to hatch.  Our paper machè eggs took 2 weeks to hatch.  Even Sawyer's, whose got stepped on by another dinosaur, survived long enough to hatch, too!

Hayden with the paper machè eggs (note the squished one) 

The eggs after they hatched


We read several more books this week which the boys (especially Hayden) thoroughly enjoyed.  I've listed them in the "Books We've Read" post.  We also watched lots of Dinosaur Train and a couple of National Geographic or IMAX dinosaur movies. 

Our major projects this week were:
  1. Fossilizing an object.  We chose to fossilize the chicken bones that the boys dug up last week, along with a few leaves from the backyard.  I got some plaster of paris from Walmart at a pretty cheap price, and we coated the bones with vaseline before sticking them in there so we could get them back out more easily.  The boys liked this activity, but it honestly didn't turn out as cool as I was expecting.  The leaves made much better fossil prints than the bones did.  I'll have to remember that next time we do a project like this one.
  2. Digging up bones and forming a skeleton.  For this one, I got a bunch of milkbone doggie biscuits and spray painted them white.  Probably about 80 of them or so.  I should've done more because we ran out when putting them together.  Sawyer gave up pretty quickly on digging them up, but Hayden stuck with it like it was nobody's business till we found every single one of those bones.  Once we got them all, we brought them back inside.  I laid out some butcher paper and sketched out lightly the dinosaur he wanted to rebuild (it was the Velociraptor).  It was turning out pretty awesome till we ran out of bones.  We never got the head made.  But maybe we can do that this weekend and then I can put up a photo.
  3. String Art.  I got this idea from here:  Dinosaurs.  This was a tough one for the boys.  I had to help a lot on it.  They had to draw freehand any kind of dinosaur they wanted to, real or pretend.  Then we traced their drawings with glue and covered the glue with string.  They turned out pretty cute, but I had to do the glue and string part for them.  They just don't have that dexterity yet.  However, they did do the drawings themselves, and for that, I was happy. 
  4. Pretzel Dinosaur Bones.  Since the pretzel letters were such a big hit a few weeks ago, I decided to do the same thing again this week.  Only we made bones instead of letters. 

    5.  Dinosaur Habitat. 
This is a work in progress still, and will probably continue to be one for several  weeks as long as Hayden is interested in it.  We transformed their train table into a dinosaur habitat with all his toy dinosaurs, a tree made out of newspaper, a nest made from sticks and mulch, Easter eggs (I mean Velociraptor eggs), a pond with water for the dinosaurs to drink from, and a volcano made from an empty bottle with homemade dough wrapped around it.  Sometime this weekend, we'll probably have it erupt. 

We also did some pretty cool math activities involving dinosaurs.  Hayden cut and pasted strips of paper labeled 11-20 on a piece of construction paper that turned out to be a dinosaur puzzle.  Another day, we went out on the front sidewalk with some measuring tape and measured out 4 different dinosaurs' lengths.  Hayden would stand on one end and me at the other.  We also tried using balloons on different length strings to see how tall they were, but the wind was blowing too hard, and they wouldn't go up to their full height.  We made dinosaur patterns also with blue and green dinosaurs.  I had Hayden make several different patterns.  Then, he glued one of the patterns to a strip of white paper, and we hung it up on the wall.

We did a few other things with the letter Ee this week, and their names (mostly to help reinforce Sawyer's knowledge and Hayden's handwriting skills).  One of the activities we did was masking tape name letters which I got from Preschool Express.  Lots of fun ideas there for learning your alphabet, numbers, art, etc.

We concluded our exploration of dinosaurs with a trip to MOSH (Museum of Science and History) where they have prehistoric sea creatures on exhibit now.  This actually is probably our 3rd or 4th visit to see them since the exhibit opened.  Below are a few pictures from that trip. 
Sneaky Sawyer edging his way behind the rope marking off the skeleton.

Gigantic sea turtle

Hayden, the paleontologist

My what big teeth you have, dinosaur-like creature!

Overhead view of the prehistoric sea creatures exhibit

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