Thursday, September 13, 2012

Junior Paleontologists

 The kids have been very interested in dinosaurs lately.  We've studied lots of books on them and watched lots of Dinosaur Train on (awesome site, if you don't know about it already).
We decided to do a little Paleontology work.   (by the way, if my kids look younger to you in these pictures, it's because they are--younger.  We did this project quite awhile ago, and I'm just now getting around to blogging about it.  Better late than never, right?)

First, I got three plastic tubs (these are old salad tubs.  I save them for when we plant the seedlings in the spring).  I went out in the garden while the kids were still getting ready for the day and filled them with dirt.  Then I buried the "bones" randomly in them.

When we got started for the day, I told the kids that we were going to be Paleontologists to see if we could find some dinosaur bones.  We had to have the necessary tools.
We talked for a bit about how real dinosaur explorers use certain tools that help them dig up the bones in ways that will preserve them.  The bones are delicate.  Scientists don't want them to break or be disturbed, so they dig them up very carefully with special brushes and shovels.  We talked about what forming a hypothesis--or making a guess about how the dinosaur must have looked based on what we know about the bones and the way they were found in the dirt.

You'd think they had just been given a box of gold, instead of a box of dirt  based on their reactions.  They LOVED this project!!!  

Even little Bogey spent lots of time carefully digging and brushing the dirt away from his "bones."

As they dug and brushed and discovered the bones hiding in the dirt, they placed them on the table.  Once they were sure that they had recovered all the bones, they set to work forming hypothesis about how the bones fit together.  It was really interesting to me to see all the possibilities they came up with.  Kids are so creative.  When I put the bones in the dirt, I was pretty sure that there would be one obvious way for all the bones to fit together, but they came up with several that I hadn't considered.  I love that about kids.  Genius, I tell ya.

Dev is trying to fit together the back legs

Calvin thinks he's got it

 This is Calvin's finished dinosaur.  He was pretty proud of it.

 Bogey was so proud of his that he carried it around with him for a few days.  He told me while I was taking this picture that his dinosaur was reptilian and cold blooded and needed to sit in the sun for a long time to warm himself.  (Above picture is sideways--I don't know why it wouldn't load turned the right way.  Cock your head to the side, please)  And as a result, I found this:

on the floor many, many times throughout the remaining week.

If your kids are even the slightest bit interested in dinosaurs, or science, or dirt, or pipe cleaners, or exploring, I would highly recommend this activity.  It was lots of fun!

1 comment:

Christine Tyler said...

What an AMAZING idea! Your kids are way too cute!