What our Dinosaurs lesson plan includes
Lesson Objectives and Overview: Dinosaurs teaches students about some of the oldest animals that have ever roamed the planet. Students will learn about many different types and be able to summarize their unique traits. They will also be able to explain when dinosaurs lived and where. This lesson is for students in 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade.
Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. For this lesson, you will need to provide colored pencils and paper for students complete the worksheets.
Options for Lesson
There is an “Options for Lesson” section that provides you with a number of additional ideas or suggestions for things you can do in the lesson. For the Dinosaurs lesson plan, these options include having students work in pairs or groups for the activity and create more than one “new” dinosaur. Another suggestion is to create a booklet of all the students’ animals. You could plan a “Dinosaur Week” and discuss a new dinosaur each day. You could provide images, coloring pages, and so on. Other suggestions include inviting an expert to come speak to the class or using modeling clay to create 3D models of different dinosaurs. Another option is to assign students a specific ancient reptile to research and later present to the class. One other option is to have students create some kind of board game using dinosaur facts. You could also watch a movie about dinosaurs and have students identify them as they watch.
On the teacher notes page, you will find some additional guidance and information to prepare you for the lesson. It suggests you research websites that can provide even more activities or facts and resources on dinosaurs to enhance or expand the lesson. There are also a number of lines on this page for you to write any notes you have for the lesson.
DINOSAURS LESSON PLAN CONTENT PAGES
Introduction and History
This lesson contains five pages of content. The first page introduces students to the “terrible lizards” of the Mesozoic Era. Students will learn that dinosaurs are extinct, which is why they will never see a live one. However, they will also discover that, because of evolution, there are some animals on the earth today that may have evolved from dinosaurs. Sir Richard Owen was the first person to use the word dinosaur to describe the creatures he identified. The word comes from two other words that translate to terrible lizard. However, these animals were actually reptiles, not lizards.
They first lived over 200 million years ago but died out around 66 million years ago. In total, they roamed the earth for around 170 million years before they became extinct. The period in which they lived is the Mesozoic Era, which we often refer to as the Age of Reptiles. This era is divided into three smaller periods, one of which is Jurassic. This is the period that people most often associate with dinosaurs. Students will learn about Pangaea and how it was a supercontinent that had not yet separated into smaller continents. Because of this, we can find dinosaur fossils and remains on every continent. Students will discover that we still don’t know exactly what led to the extinction of these amazing creatures. There are many theories and guesses, including volcanic eruptions, climate change, and even the possibility of a meteorite crashing into the earth.
Traits and Types
Next, students will learn just how much diversity there was in the dinosaur world. The next few pages of the lesson plan explore some of the traits that dinosaurs had. Many species had similar traits. However, they did differ every once in a while. For instance, students will learn that most dinosaurs were cold-blooded like the vast majority of reptiles today. But some species actually had warm blood, meaning that they could control their body temperatures. Most dinosaurs could not fly, but there were a few that could. Many scientists believe that birds evolved from the dinosaur species that could fly. Students will also discover how diverse the sizes of these creatures could be.
The last few pages describe some specific species, such as the T-Rex, the brontosaurus, and the iguanodon. The lesson mentions that there are actually two main categories of dinosaur that all the sub-types fall into. It may surprise students to learn that these groups are based on hip bones! One group includes the species that have hip bones similar to those of today’s birds. This group also includes the species that ate plants and walked on two legs. The second group have hip bones similar to today’s lizards. This group also ate meat and had powerful legs, long tails, and short arms. The final page also mentions which dinosaur was the largest and which was the smallest. The smallest one was the microraptor, which was a bird-like animal roughly the size of a pigeon. The largest was the argentinosaurus, which weighed up to 100 tons and was as long as 120 feet!
Here is a list of the vocabulary words students will learn in this lesson plan:
- Extinct: something that no longer exists
- Evolve: when something (in this case, dinosaurs) change over a long period of time
- Biologist: a person who studies life
- Dinosaur: a compound word that comes from two other words meaning “terrible lizard”
- Mesozoic Era (Age of Reptiles): the time period during which dinosaurs lived that divides into three smaller periods—Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous
- Pangaea: a supercontinent that existed millions of years ago
- Cold-blooded: animals who cannot control their body temperature
- Warm-blooded: animals who can control their body temperature
- Armor: the outer-body protection that some dinosaurs had
- Omnivorous: animals that eat both plants and other animals
- Grazers: animals that lived off the land and traveled alone or in herds
- Predators: animals that hunted other animals
- Paleontologist: a person who studies dinosaurs
DINOSAURS LESSON PLAN WORKSHEETS
The Dinosaurs lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. Each worksheet will help students grasp the lesson material in a different way. Refer to the step-by-step guide on the classroom procedure page to know when to hand out each worksheet.
NEW DINOSAURS ACTIVITY WORKSHEET
The activity requires students to create a new dinosaur. You are welcome to have students work by themselves, with a partner, or in a small group if you prefer. Using the supplies you provide, students will create their own unique dinosaurs. They will use scratch paper to make a few rough drafts. They will have to name the dinosaur and explain why they chose to give it certain features. For instance, if they give it short legs, they will need to explain why it has short legs. They can even make up a story about their creature’s life. However, this is not required. After creating a final draft, they will answer five questions. Ensure their answers make sense according to the animal they created and its traits.
MATCHING PRACTICE WORKSHEET
There are two parts for the practice worksheet. For the first section, students will circle one of two words that match the definition. There are 10 definitions in this section. The second part requires students to match information to the correct type of dinosaur. This section also contains 10 total statements. There are only six options in the word bank to choose from. Therefore, students will use some of the options more than once. Students may need to refer back to the content pages for help in answering these questions.
DINOSAURS HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
For the homework assignment, students will answer 10 multiple-choice questions using what they learned during the lesson. Students will then describe who Sir Richard Owen was. On the second homework page, they will mark 10 statements as either true (T) or false (F). Finally, there are four pictures of different dinosaurs. Students will write which type of dinosaur each image matches.
Worksheet Answer Keys
There are answer keys at the end of the lesson plan for the practice and homework worksheets. The practice worksheet highlights in red the correct answers in the first section and lists the correct term in red on the second section. The homework assignment also highlights in red the correct answers on section one. The information students provide on Sir Richard Owen will vary. The answer key provides a sample answer to which students’ answer should closely mimic. The next sections also show in red the correct answers. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.