How do we know that at one time there were dinosaurs, if there aren’t any dinosaurs now?
Graham cracker crumbs
Chocolate Magic Shell
Small plastic bowls to hold all ingredients (one set per group)
Wet wipes or water & paper towels
You can pre-write this process and have your child read the steps to you or you can go through the steps and have them later retell the steps of this process. Both work on your child’s sequencing skills in understanding how to order a process which is an important thinking skill in general but also essential for reading development.
Discuss the idea of the bones of dinosaurs and how scientists called paleontologists have dug up the bones and studied them.
Explain that the class is going to conduct a dinosaur dig. Explain that they are not to do anything until they are told.
Put out the ingredients
Start by saying something along the lines, “I am going to tell you a story and as I tell you the story you will begin to crate your dinosaur digs. Long, long ago there was a group of plant eating dinosaurs standing in the sand at the edged of the stream eating grass. The stream ran through a narrow valley. The grass was tall and green and the dinosaurs chomped and chewed the grass.”
Point to the first step of the recipe and read or have your child read. Ask them to take a spoonful of graham cracker crumbs and put them in the bottom of their cups.
Point to step two and read or have them read it. Then have them put the dinosaur into the cup on the crumbs.
Now continue the story saying, “Suddenly the sky became very dark and it began to rain. Now dinosaurs didn’t live in houses or use umbrellas, so they just kept on eating in the rain. All at once there was a terrible roar and a wall of water and mud came racing down the narrow valley. The flood was so fast that not all of the dinosaurs could get away in time and the water and mud covered many of the dinosaurs.”
Point to step three and read or have your child read it. Then have the student put a spoonful of chocolate pudding (representing the mud) into their cups to cover their dinosaurs.
Now continue the story saying, “Years and years passed and the mud dried up and it became very hot and the stream disappeared. Sand blew in the wind and covered the mud that covered the long dead dinosaurs.”
Point to step four and read or have your child read it. Then have them put another small spoonful of crumbs on top of the pudding to represent the sand.
Now continue the story saying, “Again the weather changed and a new stream formed and put more mud on top of the long dead dinosaurs.”
Point to step five and read or have you child read it. Then have them put another spoonful of chocolate pudding (representing the mud from the new stream) into their cups to cover the crumbs.
Now continue the story saying, “One day a giant volcano erupted not far from the stream and hot lava pour down the valley and covered everything.”
Point to step six and read or have them read it. Then take the Chocolate Magic Shell and cover the pudding. Explain that it represents the lava and that over time it became very hard and turned into rock.
Now have them use their spoons and begin to dig out the dinosaur starting with the lava and eating all the way down. Discuss each level as they come to it and ask them as paleontologists to explain what they are eating.
Finally when they are done have them write up the entire process. Kindergarten students can do it in just words with pictures.
After “writing” the steps older children can illustrate the process.