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Unit Study: Dinosaurs

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I’m a firm believer that the best science education starts with lots of time outdoors; what better way to appreciate and understand the natural world than by experiencing it firsthand? Children are natural explorers, observers, and recorders—as long as grownups give them enough space to adventure at their own pace. This unit study serves as a supplement for that kind of outdoor education by providing resources that enrich children’s understanding of natural history and the contemporary world.

READ: combine fiction, non-fiction, picture books, and simple reference-style books for variety

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Dinosaurs by Catherine Hughes and Franco Tempesta (language arts, science)

National Geographic Kids Ultimate Dinopedia: The Most Complete Dinosaur Reference Ever by Don Lessem, Franco Tempesta, and Rodolfo Coria (language arts, science)

Dinosaur A-Z: For Kids Who Really Love Dinosaurs by Roger Priddy (language arts, science)

Dinosaurs A-Z: Dinosaur Train by Andrea Posner-Sanchez and Terry Izumi (language arts, science)

The Dinosaur Museum: An Unforgettable, Interactive Virtual Tour Through Dinosaur History by The National Geographic Society and Sebastian Quigley (language arts, science)

How Do Dinosaurs… series by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague (language arts, science)

Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs by Byron Barton (language arts, science)

Bones, Bones, Dinosaur Bones by Bryon Barton (language arts, science)

Dinosaurumpus by Tony Milton (language arts, science)

Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems (language arts, science)

Dinosaur Dream by Dennis Nolan (language arts, science)

Shadow of the Dinosaurs by Dennis Nolan (language arts, science)

The Magic School Bus in the Time of the Dinosaurs by Joanna Cole (language arts, science)

Encylopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart (language arts, science)

Big Book of Dinosaurs by D.K. Publishing (language arts, science)

Dinosaur Bones by Bob Barner (language arts, science)

Dinosaur Train Field Guide by PBS (language arts, science)

 

WATCH: see these amazing creatures come to life on screen accompanied by music and fun facts

Dinosaur Train (Dinosaurs A-Z, Dinosaurs in the Snow, Dinosaurs Under the Sea, Dinosaur Big City, T-Rex Tales, Pteranodon Family Adventure, Big Big Big, Submarine Adventures, Eggstravaganza) (science, music)

Sesame Street’s “Herb the Plant-Eating Dinosaur” (Season 37, Episode 3) (science, music)

Sesame Street: Dinosaurs (science, music)

Walking with Dinosaurs (science, music)

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? (and More Classic Dinosaur Tales) (language arts, science)

 

LISTEN: set as background music for playtime or bop along in the car as science gets set to music

Once Upon a Dinosaur (science, music)

Most Amazing Dinosaur Songs (science, music)

Wee Sing Dinosaurs (science, music)

Dinosaur Train Volume 1 (science, music)

 

MAKE: incorporate dinosaurs into craft-time and creative play

Color a Pteranodon, a Plesiosaurus, a T-Rex, fossils, a Stegosaurus, and Dinosaur Train characters (science, art)

Hide mini-dinosaurs in plastic eggs and host a “hatching” party (science)

Make a feast for herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores (science, home economics)

Make Dinosaur playdough shapes (use a cookie cutter or just your imagination) (science, art)

Play with prehistoric pals like these (science, plain old fun)

Practice tracking on a nature hike (science)

Stamp or sticker a dinosaur scene, or turn it into a diorama (science, art)

Stomp, roar, flap (more fun)

Sort the mini-dinosaurs: count and classify by species, family, type of eater, and time period (science, math)

Track dinosaurs across a “mudpit” (real mud or playdough) (science)

Take dinosaurs to the “sea” (bath or water table) (science)