Our PYP 1 class has an amazing unit on extinction. They inquire into dinosaurs, fossils, and why things that used to be on Earth aren’t anymore. We typically take a trip to the local natural history museum in Copenhagen so that the kids can touch skulls, see actual dino bones, and interact with fossils in person. This year, Europe has a refugee crisis. Which suddenly means that going across the bridge from Sweden to Denmark became an insurmountable obstacle of needing every child’s passport!
We wanted to duplicate the museum experience, which is what made us create the paleontology museum role play. We figured out how to make fossils with salt dough but how would we get the huge skeletons? Build one
Step 1) collect a million toilet paper rolls. Seriously, you’ll need a lot
Step 2) take a large piece of chart paper (or several taped together) and draw a rough outline of the Dino’s skeleton from one side
Step 3) place yarn or strong string on the backbone of your drawing.
Step 4) have the kids place toilet paper rolls on the lines you’ve made for rib cages, legs and arms On the backbone and tail they can start stringing the the rolls onto the string. (i.e the string is inside the rolls and then they tape the rolls together). We discovered that if you use masking tape, you will use mountains of tape. Go for duct tape if you can.
Step 5) once you have created a backbone and one side of the rib cage, use more string to hang your dino up. (You will probably have cheering children at this point.)
Step 6) talk about symmetry – build a duplicate rib cage so you have two of each rib, arm, leg, etc. The kids love this step.
Step 7) with rolled up paper create the claws/fingers and toes and attach to your arms and legs
Step 8) name your dino. Pictured here is “Blood Roar”. Proudly display in your museum.