Activity Overview: 

This interdisciplinary unit familiarizes children with different types of dinosaurs and their habitats through lessons that focus on the 8 multiple intelligences introduced by Gardner. Children express themselves through poetry, personal writing, art, math, science, music and technology. Students learn about dinosaurs through online research, writing and development of an electronic presentation.

Reading, writing, art, science, math, and technology come together in a meaningful way through research, writing, and simple projects about dinosaurs. Students familiarize themselves about dinosaur habitats, eating habits, fossils, etc. Students focus on finding factual information about dinosaurs through a variety of methods to incorporate into a power point presentation that they can enjoy and share with others.

This interdisciplinary unit will familiarize children with different types of dinosaurs, statistics about various dinosaurs, habitats, etc. through lessons that focus on the 8 Multiple Intelligences introduced by Gardner. Children express themselves through poetry, personal writing, art, math, science, music, and technology. Students learn about dinosaurs through online research writing, and development of an electronic presentation.



(Note: This is a unit plan that may cover several days to several weeks. Not all of the following activities/standards will appear in the video clips used.)


Curriculum Standards from http://www.intime.uni.edu/model/cont.html

National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) Performance Indicators from http://cnets.iste.org/profiles.htm 

Day 1: Begin by introducing children to the poem “Giant Dinosaurs” by Erna Rowe; Thematic Poems Songs and Fingerplays by Meish Goldish, Scholastic, 1973, on the SMART Board and cassette player.



Pair off the children and have each pair act out the motions of the dinosaurs in one of the verses.


Grades PreK-2nd: 1, 2, 6

Ask children to look at toy dinosaurs and decide which of the toy dinosaurs would best represent each of the types described in the poem.

English Language Arts: 1, 3

Math PreK-2nd:6, 8

Science K-4th:  A1,A2,B1,C1,G1

Grades PreK-2nd: 2, 4

Show students the life-size footprint of a Dilaphosaurus, have them place their hands on the footprint to compare size.

Math PreK-2nd: 1, 4, 7, 8

Science K-4th:  A1,A2,B1,C1,G1

Grades PreK-2nd: 1, 8

Have the children trace their feet and place them inside the dinosaur footprint.

Math PreK-2nd: 1, 4, 7, 8

Science K-4th: A1,A2,B1,C1,G1


Look up the place on the United States wall map where the dinosaur footprint was found. (Found in Pennsylvania)

Social Studies: I, II, III, early grades

Grades PreK-2nd: 1, 2, 9

Read the story What Happened to Patrick’s Dinosaurs? By Carol Carrick, Ilustrated by Donald Carrick.

English Language Arts: 1, 3

Grades PreK-2nd: 2, 4

Day 2: Write a poem on the SMART Board using the word dinosaur down the side.  Children use words that they think describe dinosaurs.



Pull up Internet sites http://www.yahooligans.com, http://www.enchantedLearning.com, & http://www.thunderlizards.com to research dinosaurs.  Have children highlight facts about whether that dinosaur is a plant eater or a meat eater as well as its height, weight, and length. (Brachiosaurus is 85 feet long, 40 feet tall and weighed 70-80 pounds, etc.)  How do we know this information if there are no more dinosaurs around today? (by examining the remains) Discuss that remains of something living are called fossils.  Where can we see fossils today? (museums)

Math PreK-2nd: 4, 7, 8

Science K-4th: A1,A2,C1,C2,C3,

Grades PreK-2nd: 10

Have the students choose their favorite dinosaur and make a dinosaur information card on it. On one side of the card, have them draw a picture of their dinosaur.  On the other side, have them list interesting information such as the creature’s size and eating habits.

English Language Arts: 3, 5, 7

Math PreK-2nd: 8

Science K-4th:  A1,A2,C1,C2,C3

Grades PreK-2nd: 1, 2, 4, 8, 9

Day 3: Children are placed in groups of 4 and given a Venn diagram. Write the title “Dinosaurs.” Have the students categorize dinosaurs in different methods, one might be: “Meat-eaters (Carnivores),” or “Plant-eaters (Herbivores).”



Give the children pictures of dinosaurs to sort into the appropriate circles. Talk about what they found. Did any dinosaurs belong to both groups?

Math PreK-2nd: 6, 7, 8

Science K-4th: A1,A2,C1,C3,G1

Grades PreK-2nd: 1

Have the children color the dinosaurs and glue them on the Venn Diagram. Hang these diagrams up in the room.

Science K-4th: A1,A2,B1,C1,C3


Day 4:  Watch the Magic School Bus Video on Dinosaurs, “In the Time of Dinosaurs." Talk about what Miss Frizzle and her class found on their trip.  How does that compare to what we found out on the Internet at our dinosaur sites?  Where else can we find information about dinosaurs? (Encyclopedias & literature about dinosaurs)



Give the students time to peruse some of the dinosaur resources available such as:In the Time of Dinosaurs by Joanna Cole, illustrated by Bruce Degen, the Golden Book set I Love Dinosaurs,Dinosaurs- a Scholastic First Discovery Book by Gallimard Jeunesse, Claude Delafosse, and James Prunier and Illustrated by James Prunier and Henri Gleron,Tyrone the Terrible by Hans Wilhelm, Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo by William Joyce, Little Grunt and the Big Egg by Tommie dePaola. Keep these literature sets available for students to peruse at their leisure during this entire unit.

English Language Arts K-4th: 1, 3

Math PreK-2nd: 8

Science K-4th: A1,A2,C1,C2,C3,

Grades PreK-2nd: 2, 4

Day 5: Pass out calculators. Have the students work in pairs to figure out how many of them it would take to equal a particular dinosaur’s height or weight such as a T-Rex or Brontosaurus.



Hand out tape measures, go outside, and work as a group to make a drawing of one kind of dinosaur such as the Brachiossaurus, or T-Rex.

Math PreK-2nd: 1, 4, 6, 7, 8

Science PreK-2nd: A1,A2,B1,G1


Take a picture with a digital camera of the children lying inside the drawing to compare sizes.

Science: K-4 A1, A2, E3

Grades PreK-2nd: 1

Day 6: Become paleontologists. Make plaster molds of a shark tooth or a raptor claw.  While students are waiting for their turn to mix plaster and use the molds, they interact on the SMARTBoard with the CD-ROM  “The Magic School Bus Explores in the Age of Dinosaurs.”

Math PreK-2nd: 4, 8

Science PreK-2nd: A1,A2,B1,D1,E1,


Day 7: Go the Cooking Lab and boil eggs to make “dinosaur eggs.”  After the eggs have cooled, write the child’s name on the egg with a fine tip permanent magic marker and have the children crack them gently on their desks (around the entire egg-DO NOT PEEL SHELL OFF!) Then have them place their egg in a mixture of 1 package of kool-aid and 2 cups of water.  You may use any color.  I usually use green, purple, red, and blue.  Place eggs in the mixture in the refrigerator overnight.

Math PreK-2nd: 4, 8

Science PreK-2nd: A1,A2,B1,D1,G1


Read the play “Little Grunt and the Big Egg” by Tommie dePaola.

English Language Arts: 1, 3

Grades PreK-2nd: 2, 4

Day 8:  The next day pass out the eggs and have the children peel their eggs.  Voile’ Dinosaur eggs! The shells and the eggs look very prehistoric. 



While they enjoy eating their eggs, the students can write a story on dinosaur paper about a new kind of dinosaur that they discovered.  They give it a name, tell where they found it, its size, etc.  After the children color the border, these are displayed in the hallway with a picture that they have drawn of their dinosaur.

English Language Arts: 3, 4, 6, 8

Grades PreK-2nd: 1, 4, 8, 9

Day 9-10: (This may take 1-2 days longer depending on the extent of the power point presentation.)  Make a power point presentation using the SMARTBoard Notebook editing feature, cut and paste, Internet images, digital camera photographs, children’s drawings, poems, etc.  Children take turns writing a sentence that they know to be true about dinosaurs from the facts that we have gained throughout our study of dinosaurs.  Begin by opening Microsoft Office Power Point, select a template, and copy the template several times.  (After you have chosen the template, push control C, then Control V as many times as needed.)  Now the templates are ready when the children commit their writing.  Next open up the SMARTBoard writing block by pushing the keyboard button on the frame of the SMARTBoard.  Children write their sentence for the story in the writing block and then edit the sentence.  When the sentence is correct, they press the commit key to send their writing to a Power Point slide.  After each child has had an opportunity to participate, we go back to add Internet images, digital pictures, drawings, etc. to each slide.  After the slide show is complete, you can set the appropriate time needed for the children to read the story completely.

English Language Arts: 3, 4, 6, 8

Math PreK-2nd: 6

Science PreK-2nd: A1,A2,E1,E2,G1

Grades PreK-2nd: 1, 4, 8, 9

Day 11:  Write dinosaur invitations to another class or parents to invite them in to see the Power Point presentation.  While the children are writing they may listen to the cassette tape, “Wee Sing Dinosaurs” by Pamela Beall and Susan Nipp.

English Language Arts: 8, 11, 12

Music PreK-2nd: 2, 4

Grades PreK-2nd; 1, 8, 9

I also enjoy sharing these slide shows at Parent-Teacher conferences or Open House




SMART Board/projector. Available:http://www.smarttech.com/smartboard/
Digital Cameras/disks

Internet sites:
Yahooligans. Available: http://www.yahooligans.com
Enchanted Learning. Available: http://www.EnchantedLearning.com 
Thunder Lizards. Available: http://www.thunderlizards.com

Berenstain, M. (1989). I love dinosaurs. Golden Book: New York.

Carrick, C. (1986). What happened to Patrick’s dinosaurs? Clarion Books: New York.

Cole, J. (1994). In the time of dinosaurs. Scholastic: New York.

DePoala, T. (1990). Little Grunt and the big egg. Holiday House: New York.

Joyce, W. (1988). Dinosaur Bob and his adventures with the family Lazardo. Harper & Row: New York.

Jeunesse, G., Delafosse, C., & Prunier, J. (1993). Dinosaurs.  Scholastic: New York.

Rowe, E. (1973). Giant Dinosaurs. Scholastic: New York.

Wilhelm, H. (1988). Tyrone the horrible. Scholastic: New York.

" The magic school bus: The busasaurus." (1997). KidVidsion, a division of Warner Vision Entertainment.
"Wee Sing Dinosaurs." Tyndale.
"Whatever happened to the dinosaurs: A Golden Book Video." (1992). Western Publishing Company: Racine
"Stanley and the dinosaurs: A Golden Book Video" (John Matthews Collection). (1987). Western Publishing Company: Racine.
"Bill Nye the science guy on dinosaurs: Those big boneheads." (1994). Walt Disney Home Video.

Tape measures
Plaster of Paris/rubber molds of shark tooth or raptor claw
Hot plate or stove

I assess mainly through observation. Whether the children are attentive, eager to participate, the quality of the students' writing samples, the individual groups' Venn diagram, and how responsive the students are when asked random questions about dinosaurs.

Laurie Sybert, Mills Elementary School of the Osage Lake Ozark, Missouri

Timeline and Course Outline:
What began as a reading assignment has now become a unit in which math, spelling, science, music, English, and social studies are incorporated.  This unit normally takes three weeks but can be continued indefinitely by the children.  We simply continue to tie in our other core subject areas as we continue to read and research about dinosaurs.  This biggest advantage to presenting a unit in which the children are interested is that you are teaching them how to become better learners.  You become a facilitator of knowledge and the child becomes an active learner.

I began teaching this lesson on dinosaurs because of the children reading What Happened to Patrick's Dinosaur? in our basil reader.  I have continued to add activities each year that tie in well to our study of dinosaurs and lend themselves to Gardner's Multiple Intelligence approach.  All the activities that have been included in this unit are meant to give each student a sense of ownership and accomplishment in his/her learning.  I try to vary instructional approaches due to the great diversity of my students.

There have been many "Ah-ha" moments during this particular unit. Some such moments include: having the students use calculators to see how they compare in weight and size to a dinosaur, actually drawing a life-size dinosaur on the playground, making dinosaur eggs, creating the plaster of Paris molds of the shark tooth and raptor claw, and reading their power point story when it has been completed.  This unit takes approximately 3 weeks to complete.

Technology Resources:
Of course most of what I chose was because of availability.  My room became more computer friendly with the addition of a SMARTBoard.  The 5-foot screen is easily seen by all the students and they can interact with the computer by simply touching the screen instead of struggling with the smaller buttons of the keyboard.  The children can write on the SMARTBoard, save their work and revise, cut and paste, download images, and save their project on a disk as a part of their portfolio or to take home to show parents and family.  The CD-ROMS that I used from Scholastic easily lent themselves to our study and the children loved interacting with them.  They made it very easy to gain further knowledge as well as serve as a type of assessment for the children.  The videos could also be shown on the SMARTBoard and gave the children a more realistic look at dinosaurs.

School Background Information:
School of the Osage (Mills Elementary) is located on the Lake of the Ozarks.  It is a prime vacation area for midwest families.  We have a winter population of approximately 1,790, however in the summer this number doubles or triples.  Because of this influx of tourists each year, many of our children move in and out of our district.  We have a mobility rate of 46% and a free lunch count of 56%.  Parents of these children come to the lake area to work in tourist business' such as boat docks, fast food,seasonal clothing, restaurants, etc.  The long-term parents and students work as turkey farmers, realtors , or retail clerks at a large outlet mall located here.  We have only .5% of students who are limited in their use of the English language.  Overall our breakdown of ethnicity is as follows: 3% Hispanic, 1% Asian, and 1% African-American.

Teaching Strategy:
Because of the children’s excitement over our discussion of dinosaurs, I began to help them research dinosaurs further and expand the unit to include many different hands-on activities that would help address the different learning styles that are found in my classroom.

Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education Model Components Highlighted in This Activity: http://www.intime.uni.edu/modelimage.html
(Note: This is a unit plan that may cover several days to several weeks. Not all of the elements from the Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education Model that are described below will appear in the video clips used.)

I feel as if most of the components of the Model were touched on at some point throughout the lesson. Beginning with the Principles of Learning section of the education model, an Enjoyable Setting with an interesting topic is provided.  We then look for Patterns and Connections throughout the unit in which the children have many opportunities to Reflect and become active participants.  The children then enthusiastically Search, interpret, and communicate any additional information with others in the class or in a small group.  We then move into the Content Standards and explore the topic of “dinosaurs” through ScienceSocial StudiesMath, and the Arts.  Children are empowered through their individual research and projects.  The classroom learns to work together and respect each other as they classify dinosaurs, work on reports or projects, and create a power point slide show to share with parents and other classrooms.  Through the use of Technology, the study of dinosaurs came alive for students.  Each year more information about the past becomes available to not only myself, but to my students as well.  Helping students become active learners and gain knowledge about the world in which they live is of vital importance.  It is with this knowledge that each individual can make a difference.

 Student Characteristics:
To meet the diverse learners that I have in my inclusion classroom, I present all of my lessons with a variety of hands-on activities that encompass Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory.  I have found that all children CAN learn if they are presented the material in a variety of ways.  You have to address the “whole” child through literature, art, music, history, math, science, environment, etc.  My students must have a hands-on learning style to succeed since many of them have mental and physical handicaps.

Evolution of the Activity:
As with any god lesson, you constantly continue to research, refine and explore better ways to help the students understand information that is being presented to them  This particular lesson began with a simple story about a dinosaur and a discussion.  We now research information on the Internet, create dinosaur eggs, develop a power point presentation on dinosaurs using our research and the digital camera to help the child gain ownership of the project, draw a life-size dinosaur on the playground, make Plaster of Paris molds of dinosaur teeth and claws, and invite parents, as well as other classrooms to share in our adventure.

 (Learning activity format adapted from National Educational Technology Standards for Students Connecting Curriculum & Technology http://cnets.iste.org/students)