Travel back to prehistoric times when dinosaurs ruled the earth. This lesson allows preschool students to use their imagination and motor skills while learning about a favorite topic.
These yummy fossil cookies will make your young paleontologists come ready for snack time! Be sure students' hands are clean before beginning this cooking activity. Allowing the kids to help with measuring is the perfect way to introduce fractions. Talk about the exact measurements and why they are so important. You can also introduce estimation and why it does not work when cooking.
1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 TBS water
Mix all of the ingredients together. Roll the dough into balls. Give each student a ball of dough on a small piece of wax paper. Students can flatten their dough ball using clean plastic dinosaurs or other small items that can make a fossil imprint. Add their initials with a toothpick. Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.
Using baker's clay, students can make their own fossils. You can then use the fossils to hide in the classroom or playground. The class can then go on their own archaeological hunt to find them. Again, if the kids help with the measuring, this is a ready-made math activity. Talk with the students about what items make the best fossil impression. By rolling the dough and manipulating the items to make the imprints, you are helping students improve their fine motor skills.
Baker's Clay (no bake recipe)
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1/2 cup water
2 TBS vegetable oil
Combine the salt and flour in a large flat-bottomed bowl. Slowly add the water, mixing as you pour. Additional water may be necessary to obtain the right consistency. Too much water will make the dough too sticky to work with. Form the dough into a ball. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. Students can use shells, leaves, sticks, or other objects to press into small pieces of the dough, making their own fossils.
Original Dinosaur Creations
11 x 17 sheet of paper for each child
Put children in groups of three. Fold each piece of paper into thirds before passing the papers to the students. Keeping the papers folded, have the first child draw a dinosaur head onto the top section. When everyone is finished with the head, manipulate the paper so that the head is hiding, but the middle section is exposed. Then, the next student draws a dinosaur body onto the paper. Fold the paper again so that the bottom sections is showing and pass the paper to the third child in the group. This time, the legs and feet will be added.
Encourage students to draw from the top to the bottom of their section, filling in as much of the paper as possible. Once complete, have the group unfold their paper and give their new dinosaur a name. They can decide if it is a herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore. Reinforce the concept of teamwork as the student's pass the papers to their neighbors. Groups can their share their creations with the class, helping students work on speaking and sharing information before a group.
Hang up a large piece of butcher paper. Provide students with dinosaur shape sponges or art materials to make dinosaurs along the paper. The students can then come back and add grass, trees, or other background material to develop their dinosaur scene. The project can either be left up as an open art center, or you can move assigned groups to the paper at set intervals to add their inspiration to the creation. As an ongoing art activity, your student's creativity can flourish, and they can practice working with their classmates to make a complete picture.
Fun Dinosaur Facts
- Tyrannosaurus' front arms were so short that they couldn't reach their mouth.
Dinosaur fossils have been found on every continent.
- One of the oldest known fossils was of blue-green algae. It was 3400 million years old.
- One of the smallest dinosaur fossils ever found was the size of a robin. It belonged to a baby Mussaurus which means "mouse lizard".
- It is believed that an Apatosaurus may have eaten up to 1 3/4 tons of plants every day.
- In 1971, scientists found quite an interesting fossil. It was of a Protoceratops and Velociraptor in a battle. The Velociraptor was still gripping the frill of the Protoceratops with its strong claws.