Fun, Hands-on Dinosaur Unit: Theropods – Tyranosaurus Rex

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This week’s focus for our dinosaur unit has been the dinosaurs from the Theropod’s group using Tyrannosaurus Rex as an example, and we have had heaps of hand-on fun!

Dinosaurs are classified into two groups dependent on the position of the hips:

  1. Saurischia (lizard hipped dinosaurs)
  2. Ornithiscia (bird hipped dinosaurs)

The Saurischia are further divided into Theropods and Sauropods, while the Ornithiscia are divided into Thyreophora and Cerapods.  We have already covered one of the dinosaurs from the Thyreophora group, namely the Stegasaurus and one from the Cerapod group, theTriceratops.  Over the next few weeks we will be turning our attention to the Saurischia dinosaurs, last week focusing on the Sauropods.  This week was all about the Theropods.  ‘Theropods’ means ‘beast foot’ and describe the only meat eating group of dinosaurs.  Theropods have strong, muscular legs and short arms.  One example of a Theropod is the Tyrannosaurus Rex and it is this dinosaur which we have been focused on during our last week on Dinosaurs.

Dinosaur Read Alouds

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Dinosaur Audio-Visual

A7 watched and listened to this slide show from SchoolhouseTeachers.com:

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Dinosaur Arts and Crafts

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She liked it just a little bit 🙂

Dinosaur Science: Fossils

I had a few activities planned here.  The first two were fossil related.  I read them the following book to get them in the mood for some fossil hunting:capturefossil

This is an excellent book based on the true story of Mary Anning, set in the 1800’s.

  • Fossil Hunting

We had hoped to get to the south coast to do a bit of real fossil hunting but it would have been a seven hour round trip (just the driving time) so we all decided that it wasn’t important enough to be in the car for such a long time, so this is my compromise.  I thought we could probably do a bit of fossil hunting as well as some classification and graphing with this kit:

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I went through the leaflet with the girls and then let them explore the contents of the kit:

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They naturally sorted them into the types of fossils shown on the information sheet, and once they had finished I wrote all the types of fossils down before graphing them:

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We graphed them very casually using a piece of butcher’s paper (seriously, where would I be without my butcher’s paper?):

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Once we had made a ‘living’ graph, I questioned the girls and they pointed out the answers:

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  • Fossil Experimental Kit

I’m not known for using kits accurately.  In fact I usually simply play, as most of the time more is learnt that way, but Thames and Konos sets are the exception to the rule.  They produce kits of such high quality the instructions are worth following to the letter:

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We created the fossil and this time B5 wanted to excavate it:

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  • The final activity was just a fun kit I had picked up at the Natural History Museum.  We had seen some real fossilised dinosaur eggs in the museum:

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as well as their display of dinosaur eggs hatching on a dinosaur nest:

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The kit I bought was a kit to hatch your very own baby dinosaur:

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We were to soak it in water:

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Check it after 24 hours, when there should be cracking in the shell of the egg:

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and then at 48 hours when the baby T-Rex should show signs of wanting to come out into the big bad world.  We were a bit disappointed to find out it wasn’t actually a T-rex:

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Tyrannosaurus Rex at the Natural History Museum

This was fun!  They had a permanent exhibition of a moving, growling Tyrannosaurus Rex, eating his way through his prey.  The girls were delighted:

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There was also a life size T-rex head mounted on the wall.  It was enormous:

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And that ends our dinosaur unit study.  Probably one of the best we’ve done so far.

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