Saturday, February 2, 2013

D is for Dinosaurs!

I'm not too sure I would never want to be a weatherman in the state of Alabama.  Our winter weather is just plain strange.  One day it is 70 degrees in January and the next day we are below freezing!  That is exactly what happened last week in central Alabama.  And that crazy change in temperatures also brings tornadoes.   Because of a high threat of severe weather, our school was cancelled on Wednesday so sadly all our fun activities had to be squeezed into 4 short days.  So, let's take a look at our week!

On Monday we out by naming as many dinosaurs as we could.  Let me just say, my class could name many more than I could!  We talked about all the different characteristics of dinosaurs and started a fun and silly project that we called our "Shape-a-saurs". 
Can you tell this James' favorite dinosaur is the Apatosaurus?

And Boone likes the Stegosaurus!

Everyone had so much fun naming the shapes as they added them to their creations.  In the corner we wrote what our dinosaur likes to eat!  It seems "apples" were a favorite treat for most of our shape-a-saurus.
Tuesday we practiced our writing while talking about our dinosaurs.  Everyone called these our "Name-a-saurs"!  We started off with a cut out that slightly resembled a stegosaurus.  Next, we worked on our fine motor skill and added some hole reinforcers (I actually call them portable holes ) to make his/her scaly body.


Here comes the fun part!  We mix green and brown paint together to make "dinosaur green" (yes, that is our new name for the color) and painted the body. 
While the paint was drying we wrote our name on the plates for his back.

Some of our Name-a-saurs had short tails and others had tails that extended off the page.  I love the look on the students' faces when a project like this is complete.  They are so proud and so am I!
We also spent a great deal of time trying to decide if we would rather be a meat-eating dinosaur or a plant-eater.  The class was pretty evenly split until lunchtime and then everyone changed their minds, so we ended up being a class of meat-eaters.
We spent most of Thursday talking how dinosaurs are reptiles and they laid eggs.  Our project for the day was to make a dinosaur egg!  This took a bit of pre-planning but it was totally worth it!  Days before, I asked my sweet teacher friends to save me their coffee grounds.  Here is my recipe for dinosaur eggs -
 1 cup of used coffee grounds
 1 cup of flour
 1/2 cup of salt
 1/2 cup of water
Mix all the ingredients together (add the water slowly, if you coffee grounds are wet you won't need the entire 1/2 cup) to make a dough.  My students weren't too sure about our mixture and to be honest it took a little persuading to get them to stick their hands in the dough.  FINALLY, one brave soul took the plunge and rest of the class joined right in.  We made little balls and hid our dinosaurs in the dough.  Next, we baked them in a 200 degree oven for about an hour and left them inside the oven overnight to continue to harden. 
The next day . . . .
Baby Dinosaurs!
On Friday things went terribly wrong!  We had planned to make dinosaur fossils out of homemade clay.  WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?!?!?  First, we mixed up a basic salt dough recipe:
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1/4 cup Salt
  • Water
We mixed the flour and salt then add enough water to make a dough similar to play dough, not wet and sticky but also not dry and crumbly. 

This is when things went south!  It seems that two days of getting "yucky" was more than my class could take.  We hurried and made our little disc.  Finally, we used some old sea shells to make the imprints in the clay.  We baked everything for about 45 minutes in a 200 degree oven and then let them cool.  (To be honest, we should have baked them longer, they were gooey in the middle.)

Everyone was pleased with their fossils and I was very pleased that they did the project themselves.  The clean-up was another matter all together . . .

This picture was taken after I was half way through the cleaning!!!
Still it was a fun (short) week and I think we learned a lot.  By the way, this post has been linked to 3dinosaurs Fine Motor Skills Challenge!
Next week we will begin talking about Valentine's Day.  I hope you will stop back by and see us again!



  1. I love your Name-o-saurs! I am going to be dinosaurs in a couple weeks and will have to do that with my kids!

  2. Really cute ideas! ...our dinosaur unit starts in 2 weeks...I posted a picture of our familyasaurus on my blog...

  3. Your name-o-saurus is adorable! I love how you used the hole reinforcer sticks for texture.

  4. Thanks for linking up last week to the fine motor challenge!