Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: Science
- Books and magazines about bones and dinosaurs
- Trowels or small shovels
- Small plastic animals or figures
- 5 or 6 screens, about 12" x 12"
- Different colored chalk
- 6 or 8 small boxes or tubs
- Chart paper and marker
- White paper
Objective: Children will explore and record unusual shapes as they become amateur archaeologists.
In Advance: If possible, visit a museum where dinosaur skeletons are on display. As children investigate the skeletons, encourage them to compare and contrast the different sizes and shapes of the dinosaur bones. Later, talk about what other animal skeletons might look like. Invite children to compare the sizes of those animal bones to those of the dinosaur skeletons on display. Provide books and magazines on archaeological digs for children to explore. Discuss the different kinds of items that have been discovered on those digs.
Dig up those shapes!
- Gather children and open a discussion about archaeologists. Ask them: If you could discover anything on an archaeological dig, what would you want it to be? Why? How do you think the object would look after being buried for a long time underground? How would you clean the object you found?
- Invite children to go on their own archaeological dig. Explain that they will have a chance to find objects in the sandbox and to notice their different shapes.
- Bury all the plastic animals/figures in the sandbox. Then encourage children to use trowels and shovels to dig carefully for them. Show children how to sift the dirt with the screens to find the objects.
- Invite children to use the chalk to mark their objects with a number or letter as archaeologists do. Provide small boxes or tubs that children can use to store the objects they discovered.
- Ask children to imagine where the objects might have come from. Invite them to draw pictures, then put the drawings together in an Our Shape Dig book.
For younger children: Bury larger-size objects in the sandbox so that the "hunt" takes less time, matching shorter attention spans.
For older children: Ask children to sort the objects they found according to size, color, or kind. Record their results on the chart paper, using a different column for each category.
Take a field trip to a dinosaur museum or to a local area where fossils are known to have been found. (Mention to children that fossils show up in gravel areas in a city!)
Big Old Bones by Carol Carrick
Digging Up Dinosaurs by Aliki
If You Are a Hunter of Fossils by Baylor Bird