Back to Dinosaurs and Us Unit Lesson Plans
- Grade Level: Elementary School, Middle School
- Subject Area: Science
Students will visit museums and gather information about dinosaur habitats, survival needs, and how they met these needs.
- Learn about the concept of adaptation.
- Learn about dinosaur habitats and means of survival.
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some assumptions about the hardware and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or activities have a computer (PC or Macintosh) with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as software (operating system, TCP/IP software, networking or dial-up software, e-mail and a World Wide Web client program, preferably Netscape, but perhaps Mosaic or Lynx). In the section below, we specify any "special" hardware or software requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above) and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
- Special hardware requirements: None.
- Special software requirements: None.
- Internet access: A medium-speed (28,000 BPS via modem) or high-speed (greater than 1 MBPS via network).
- Prepare students for visiting the on-line dinosaur exhibits by talking about what information they will be responsible for gathering. Spend some time discussing the terms "habitat" and "survival needs" to help students develop an understanding of what they mean in the context of evolution. The following is a list of questions that should help students gather information that addresses dinosaurs' habitat, survival needs, and how they fulfilled these needs:
- What survival needs did dinosaurs have (food, shelter, safety)?
- What types of places did dinosaurs live in (forests, desserts, etc.)?
- What type of food did they eat? How did they get their food?
- What are some of the reasons scientists think that dinosaurs became extinct?
- How might the dinosaurs' extinction relate to their habitat and needs?
- Have students visit the on-line dinosaur museums listed in our Internet Resources (see below). While students are at the site, they should use the above, or similar questions, as guides for gathering information. Be sure to have students make their observations specific (they should note which types of dinosaurs ate which things, how they got their food, etc.). Students may also want to draw brief sketches of characteristics they think helped dinosaurs survive, such as horns, teeth, tails, etc. Students should include with their sketches why they think these physical features were helpful to dinosaurs.
- After they have visited the museums, students gather as a group to discuss what they found. You may choose to record students' findings on a chart for use in Lesson Two.
- The Dinosauria
The University of California, Berkeley's Museum of Paleontology's room on dinosaurs. Students can learn about some of the myths surrounding dinosaurs, learn about early dinosaur discoveries, and choose specific dinosaurs to learn more about. Descriptions of individual dinosaurs provide information on habitat and diet.
- University of California Museum of Paleontology's T. Rex Exhibit
A whole exhibit dedicated to the king of dinosaurs.
- Honolulu Community College's Dinosaurs in Hawaii Exhibit
This exhibit offers images of several dinosaur skeletons along with text describing each dinosaur.
- Royal Tyrrell Museum
This natural history has an excellent virtual museum that you can navigate though either by using a map or by clicking on a list of rooms. Enter the virtual museum from their main page by clicking on the virtual museum listing. Places to stop: "The Origin of Dinosaurs," "Dinosaur Hall," and "Extinction." The Dinosaur Hall has links to descriptions of many different dinosaurs.
Note: This site uses frames, so be sure to have your students to use the "Back in frame" and "Forward in frame" command since the back button on the Netscape menu will cause you to leave the site all together.
- The World's First Dinosaur Skeleton
This site has information on the 1858 discover of the first dinosaur skeleton. See pictures of the skeleton and learn about the discovery's scientific impact.