Every 5/6 year old’s favourite topic: Dinosaurs and Extinction! I am absolutely loving experiencing this unit with my student and reveling in all the inquiry that is occurring in our class at the moment. The students decided that we needed to become experts on extinction and specifically dinosaurs! We are keeping it a secret from the whole school and conducting research so that we can become that best palentologiest in the history of our school! As you can imagine, they are just loving every minute of it, and I have to admit, so am I!
To be completely honest, there is a lot of staged activities and discoveries that I have done to get the inquiry going (I guess that’s my job, huh). One of the first activities I had set out for the students was measuring bones of dinosaurs and prediciting what part of the dinosaurs body could the bone have come from. I obviously do not have access to real dinosaur bones so straight to Mr. Google I went. I printed a whole bunch of pictures of dinosaur fossils and bones and places them all over the classroom, iin plain sight, so that the students would spend the whole day randomly finding these bones. It all started with a few students finding the bones in their bins and math notebooks first thing in the morning. Some students were not convinced; some suggesting that I, the most honest teacher in the world, planned and planted these bones; and some telling others they were just pictures from the internet. Rest assured after a few more discoveries, these students were completely convinced that someone placed these bones in our classroom to help steer us in the right direction to become palentologists.
When it came time to begin our research for our unit and becoming palentologists, many students suggested that good palentologists measure how long bones are so that they can tell the world what part of a dinosaur body the bone is from. This spurred their initial inquiry into measurement. First, we found the right way to use a ruler and measure and all together made an anchor chart to help remind us how use a measurement tool such a ruler to measure. Students then used the following sheet to record their finding and hypothesis of where they think the bone came from.
The conversations being had during this activity were, as you can imagine, colourful and full of excitement. Although my cover was almost blown and it was exhausting to keep a straight face, it was so worth seeing the look on students faces when they found ‘dinosaur’ bones around our classroom!