Number one for English language teachers

Keith's Corner: Entry 18: Dinosaurs

All children love dinosaurs and the children at Keith’s school are no different. This month, Keith invites us to delve into a prehistoric world with him.

Body parts

Revising is always useful, especially when it’s combined with learning something new. During dinosaur week, our pupils revisited the names of animal body parts. They also learnt about various dinosaur body parts – plates, horns, claws, etc – and why dinosaurs had them. We discussed, too, the three main groups of dinosaurs: land, sea and air.

This naturally led us on to the dino diet and, after talking about herbivores, carnivores and omnivores, we recalled the concept of the food chain – who eats what … or who!

Dino maths

What mathematics is there in the world of dinosaurs? Well, the answer is lots!

Compared to humans, most dinosaurs were gigantic. With this in mind, we cut out and coloured in T-rex cardboard footprints. Ours were about one metre long, even though, strictly speaking, T-rex was said to have had a 46cm footprint, due to the fact that it walked on its toes. We then measured how many times a human foot could fit into one T-rex footprint. Counting, multiplying and dividing can all be lots of fun when put into such an imaginative context.

Later on, the children measured their own heights, which we transferred onto paper. Next, we compared their stats to the heights of three types of dinosaur: the three-horned triceratops, the monstrous T-rex and the swift velociraptor.

Note: Dinosaur names can be tricky to pronounce but are great for writing and spelling practice, and for word games like hangman.

Dino arts

Our young learners had heaps of fun with dino connect-the-dots, puzzles, stickers and colouring pages. On top of that, the children got to come up with and draw their very own, unique type of dinosaur, then name it using the -osaurus suffix.

This proved to be especially fun, given that we had already learnt about the various parts of the meat-eaters’ and plant-eaters’ bodies and so our pupils were able to choose from among these parts and incorporate them into their dino designs.

No topic would be complete without song and dance, and this is where the wonderful Dinosaur Raps by CBeebies came in handy. These songs were greatly enjoyed by our very young learners and school-going groups alike.

CBeebies has also produced several highly informative videos of dino facts, like this one, which our slightly older kids enjoyed watching. They even requested a repeat viewing during snack time.

Dino books

One of the books we read this week is an Anglia School favourite called There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon by Jack Kent. It’s about how a little attention can make a big difference.

Fossils

Towards the end of our prehistoric week, we explored the idea of what remains of this long-lost world of dinosaurs: fossils. The children made cast fossils in a craft activity. Creating the many wonderful designs out of clay was a lovely way to bring a close to dinosaur week.

Who would have thought so much learning could be had from a pile of old bones!

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