What if a hungry T. rex met a hungry velociraptor? What if they had a fight? Who would win? In this prehistoric version of Jerry Pallotta’s popular Who Would Win? series, the big and brawny T. rex is pitted against the agile, wicked velociraptor. It might seem obvious at first who would win. But don’t make too quick of a decision. The author asks readers to think about these facts: T. rex had the teeth, size, and design to be an overwhelming foe. However, the velociraptor had speed, a wicked, sharp sickle on its foot, and a proportionately larger brain.
This approachable and fascinating book engages young readers by posing ideas and theories to keep them thinking even after the reading ends. Fun facts and background information about dinosaurs build readers’ ability to make a good battle prediction. The text plays out one possible encounter between the two mighty dinosaurs. But what would happen the next time the two predators met?
About the Author
Jerry Pallotta became interested in writing while reading alphabet books to his young children. He decided to write a different kind of alphabet book, one about the Atlantic Ocean. The rest is history. Pallotta has written 20 alphabet books, 20 math books, and several non fiction series including the Who Would Win? series.
Pallotta was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C. where he majored in business, and met his wife. He currently lives in Massachusetts and is married with four children. Read more about the author at http://www.jerrypallotta.com/.
Teaching the Book
Go back millions of years ago. What would happen if a Tyrannosaurus rex and a velociraptor met—and fought to the death? Author Jerry Pallotta sets up this prehistoric battle with fascinating facts about the two ferocious dinosaurs. Use the book to teach compare and contrast, content area vocabulary, and the topic of prehistoric predators. Engage students in researching the location of dinosaur fossils, recording a sportscast of the dinosaur encounter, and creating an imaginary super-predator dinosaur.
Theme Focus: Prehistoric Predators
Comprehension Focus: Compare and Contrast
Language Focus: Content Area Vocabulary
Get Ready to Read
Visit the Scholastic website to find out how “dinosaur smart” your students are with a 10-question multiple-choice quiz, hosted by dino expert Don Lessem. Students will learn dinosaur facts such as which is the smallest dinosaur, the longest dinosaur, and the earliest dinosaur. Project the quiz onto a whiteboard or screen and ask students to write down their answers to each question. Then take a poll to see which answer is most popular before clicking the button to find out the right answer.
After the quiz, ask students what they know about the two dinosaurs featured in this book, Tyrannosaurus rex and velociraptor.
Preview and Predict
Have students study the illustrations of the two dinosaurs on the cover of the book. What advantage might T. rex have over velociraptor? What advantage might velociraptor have over T. rex?
Content Area Words
The book includes many content area words related to prehistoric predators. Encourage students to look for clues in the text and the illustrations to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words. Then have them check the dictionary definition if necessary.
Use Resource #1: Vocabulary Cards and distribute copies to students.
- extinct (p. 5)
- paleontologist (p. 7)
- prehistoric (p. 7)
- fossil (p. 8)
- geologist (p. 9)
- carnivore (p. 12)
- herbivore (p. 12)
- apex predator (p. 14)
Words to Know
Read aloud the following sentences and ask students to hold up the vocabulary card that completes each sentence.
- All the dinosaurs that lived millions of years ago are now _____. (extinct)
- An animal that eats plants is a _____. (herbivore)
- Dinosaurs existed before recorded history, so they are _____. (prehistoric)
- A scientist who studies prehistoric life is a _____. (paleontologist)
- The preserved remains of a dead plant or animal are called a _____. (fossil)
- An animal that eats meat is a _____. (carnivore)
- A scientist who studies the history of the earth in its rocks is a _____. (geologist)
- An animal that has no natural enemies is called a _____. (apex predator)
As You Read
Reading the Book
Read aloud several spreads of the book with students following along. Point out that on most of the spreads, the left page is about T. rex and the right page is about velociraptor. Also, help students understand the different kinds of text on a page. The main text at the top and bottom of the page provide the important, basic information, while the illustrations, captions, and fact boxes provide additional, helpful information.
Encourage partners to reread the book together. One student can read the text on the left page while the other reads the text on the right page. Remind students to study the illustrations and extra features that provide greater details about the two dinosaurs.
Big Question: Critical Thinking
Ask students to think about this question as they read and be ready to answer it when they have finished the book. Write the question on chart paper or have students write it in their reading journals. Who would win in a match-up between a Tyrannosaurus rex and a velociraptor? Explain why.
Compare and Contrast
Explain to students that Who Will Win? is written as a comparison and contrast book. When you compare, you explain how two things are the same. When you contrast, you explain how they are different. Recognizing comparisons and contrasts help readers understand the meaning of a text.
Use the graphic organizer, Resource #2: Compare and Contrast to model for students how to analyze and evaluate comparisons and contrasts. Project the page on a whiteboard or pass out copies to students. Then model how to compare the characteristic of teeth for T. rex and velociraptor and evaluate which is superior in this category.
Model: Just looking at T. rex’s teeth, I can see that they are killers! The teeth are large, closely packed, sharp, and strong enough to crunch bones. On the other hand, velociraptor also has a lot of sharp teeth. But compared to T. rex, they aren’t as big and he does not have as many. I’d have to give T. rex the win in the teeth category.
Have students fill in the rest of the comparison and contrast entries on the organizer and choose the winner for each characteristic. Encourage students to compare their results and discuss any differences.
After You Read
Questions to Discuss
Lead students in a discussion of these focus story elements.
1. Prehistoric Predators
Dinosaurs lived millions of years before man. But if they had lived at the same time, who would win a match-up—T. rex or a human being? (Sample answer: If man had tools like he does today, he would win; otherwise T. rex would win.)
2. Compare and Contrast
How are T. rex and velociraptor alike? (Sample answers: They both live on land, they are both dinosaurs, they both have sharp teeth.) How are T. rex and velociraptor different? (Sample answers: The velociraptor has stronger arms and sharper claws; T. rex is much bigger; the velociraptor has a bigger brain proportionate to its size.)
3. Content Area Vocabulary
Identify the following animals as either a carnivore or herbivore: velociraptor, bronchiosaurus, cat, cow, human. (Sample answers: carnivore, herbivore, carnivore, herbivore, both)
Questions to Share
Encourage students to share their responses with a partner or small group.
What is the most amazing fact that you learned in the book? How did the book change your ideas about prehistoric dinosaurs?
How do you think climate change might have affected the dinosaurs?
The author of this book has written several other books in the Who Would Win? series. They include Lion vs. Tiger, Polar Bear vs. Grizzly Bear, and Komodo Dragon vs. King Cobra. Which title sounds most interesting to you? Who do you think would win?
Content Area Connections
Ask students to research the height and length of both T. rex and velociraptor and then record the numbers. Next, have them describe both animals relative to the size of familiar things such as an adult human being, a car, and a house. If possible, you might also have them mark out the dimensions of both animals with chalk on a playground.
A Dinosaur Map of the USA
Suggest students research where dinosaur fossils have been found in the United States. Guide students to record the states that have had large or important dinosaur fossil discoveries. For example, the T. rex named Sue was found in South Dakota. Project a map of the United States on the whiteboard and ask students to show where dinosaurs once lived. Visit the PBS website to find more information about the locations of dinosaur bones and fossils.
Guide students to learn all about the dinosaurs of the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous Periods while playing a fun, interactive game at the Scholastic website. Encourage students to report back on what they learned about the dinosaurs of the time period.
Recording a Sportscast
The ending pages of the book describe a possible encounter between T. rex and velociraptor. Challenge students to work with partners to create a sportscaster script based on the description and to make audio recordings of their results. Then play the various recordings to the whole class and have them compare and contrast the sportscasts for accuracy, excitement, and sound quality.
Support a Winner
Assign students to write an argument paragraph supporting either T. rex or velociraptor as the winner of their match-up. Tell students to begin the paragraph with a clear statement of whom they choose as the winner. Then ask them to provide three supporting reasons for their argument. For example, T. rex would win because he is bigger and has a deadly tail. Have them conclude the paragraph with a summary sentence that restates their argument in a new way.
Don't Forget the Big Question
Give each student an opportunity to answer the big question. Encourage students to support their answers with details and evidence from the text. Tell them there is more than one right answer. Who would win in a match-up between a Tyrannosaurus rex and a velociraptor? Explain why.
A Super-Predator Dino
Remind students that T. rex was an apex predator in the time of the dinosaurs. But what sort of dinosaur could fight T. rex and beat him every time? Challenge students to use their imaginations to create a super apex dinosaur predator. Their goal is to combine all the features of a good fighter into one dinosaur. Make copies of the printable, Big Activity: A Super-Predator Dino, and distribute to students. Read the directions and answer questions to clarify the activity.