CREATURES FROM THE PAST
By Mansour Sheibany
University of Idaho
ITV Series: Reading Rainbow "Digging Dinosaurs"
The teacher will introduce the unit to the students with an activity that
involves hunting eggs. Students will learn to recognize the different body shapes, colors
and sizes of dinosaurs during the video "Digging Dinosaurs". They will then be
able to use their background knowledge and discover what creatures of the past looked
like. Included are several lesson plans based on the "Digging Dinosaurs"
video by Reading Rainbow.
Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Dinosaur Definitions Bibliography Dinosaur Drawings
- Students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of these
creatures from the past (dinosaurs) by creating them in their drawings.
- Students will also be able to use their imagination and draw
these creatures from the past. Students will estimate different sizes of these creatures
and compare them with other student's drawings in the class.
- Students will make a variety of designs for the background
display for their project.
- Students will make a display of their dinosaur's eggs and
- Reading Rainbow video tape
- Different shaped eggs
- White construction paper
- Water color paint of all colors
To introduce the unit the teacher will create a story about
the creatures roaming in their classroom after school hours and during the night. The
teacher will engage students by telling them that some people have heard these creatures
calling out words that sound like "eggs, eggs, eggs."
Focus for Viewing
- Viewing the Reading Rainbow video tape students will notice
the different shaped heads, bodies, and paws of these creatures.
- Students will notice the differences between the two
- Another focus for the viewing would be for the students to
notice the difference between the two dinosaur's colors.
The teacher will start the video at the beginning of the
program where the dinosaurs are fighting with each other. Pause the tape when one of the
creatures is displayed on the screen. Have the students notice the head shape of this
dinosaur. Start the tape again. When the second dinosaur appears, pause the tape and have
the students note the shape of the head of this dinosaur. Resume the tape until the first
dinosaur appears again. Stop the tape and talk to the students about the body shape of
this dinosaur. Resume the tape until the second dinosaur appears, then pause the tape.
Have the students describe the different body shape of each dinosaur. Resume the tape.
Where the first dinosaur appears, have the students note the color of the dinosaur. Start
the tape again and when the second dinosaur appears and have students note the color of
Post Viewing Activities
Review with the students all the differences between the
dinosaurs they saw in the videotape.
Remind the students that others have heard these creatures
repeatedly saying, "eggs, eggs, eggs". Ask the students to assist you in finding
these eggs around the room. Tell the students that they can each find only one egg.
Also, tell the students that after they find their egg they
are to sit at their own desks and wait for the rest of the class to finish.
Students will use the eggs they have found, the images they
remember from the video and their own imagination to create a creature they believe will
be produced from the eggs they have found.
After the students have drawn their own dinosaurs, have them
form groups of two and compare their dinosaur drawings with each other. Emphasize to the
students that they need to notice the difference in the size, shape and color of each
dinosaur. The students will note how their dinosaur compares with the others, for example,
if one is bigger or smaller.
ITV Series: Reading Rainbow "Digging Dinosaurs"
Students will learn the method of researching and writing a report. They
will learn physical as well as social characteristics of the dinosaurs of their choosing.
Different learning media such as the library, videos, and the Internet will be used for
their research. Students will use the different media types to learn how to take notes.
- Students will learn more detailed information about the
dinosaurs by researching their particular creature.
- Students will learn how to research and write about the
- Students will learn how to use the keyboard.
- Students will learn to use different media as resources in
finding more information about their particular dinosaurs.
- Students will be able to learn about the different habitats of
- Students will learn about the different sizes and lengths of
Students will compare their dinosaurs with ordinary objects.
- Reading Rainbow videotape
- Library access
- Internet access
- Writing utensils
The teacher will explain to the students that the drawing
they did was to help them guess the shapes, sizes, and colors of the dinosaur species.
In addition, the teacher will explain that this is the sort of guessing that
scientists make before they continue with their research. The name for these guesses is THEORY.
Discuss with the students how, by drawing these creatures, they now have a theory
of what these creatures would look like. Explain how they, like scientists, will research
their findings to see if they are correct.
The teacher will explain that each student is required to use two methods of
research, such as the library or Internet. Discuss with the students how they need to find
a dinosaur that they would like, research the species and discover as much information
about them as possible, such as the color of its skin, what it ate, and where it lived.
Focus for Viewing
The focus for this viewing is to help students understand
what type of information could be discovered about the dinosaurs.
Students will be able to understand how this information could be used. Each
student will make a list of the characteristics of the dinosaurs in the video.
Start the video at the segment where the narrator walks
into the construction field. Stop the video after the narrator explains how each fossil
can be found by these machines. Discuss with the students different common sites where
scientists will be able to find some information about the dinosaurs. Start the video
again. Stop the video after Aliki (the book narrator) names each individual species of
dinosaurs and describes the characteristics of each. Start the video again and continue
until the last dinosaur is named.
Post Viewing Activity
The teacher will review with the students the different
characteristics of each species of dinosaurs. Also, the teacher will discuss the different
habitats of the dinosaurs.
After the students have found their resources the teacher will assist the students
in collecting data for their project.
In assisting the students the teacher will organize them into
groups of three and discuss their method of data collection. The teacher will have one
student read a paragraph and then discuss what he/she learned from this paragraph. The
teacher will use this method for all the groups in the class.
- Students will discuss the different characteristics, names and
habitats that dinosaurs have.
- Students will also learn how to use a Venn Diagram.
- Students will be able to categorize the characteristics of
dinosaurs by creating a Venn Diagram and by placing each dinosaur, according to
characteristics, in the correct section of the diagram.
8 1/2 x 11 board
Venn Diagram drawn on cardboard
The teacher will ask the students to make a list of all the
different features in dinosaurs that they remember from watching the video
The teacher will discuss with the students all the different
characteristics of dinosaurs that students may have learned in the past few days.
Explain to the students that they have learned not only
colors and shapes, but also what these dinosaurs eat and where they lived.
The teacher will discuss with the students that all of the
dinosaur species may have some features in common and some features that are different,
such as their eating habits.
Ask the students to assist you in finding what common and
different features these species have.The teacher will use the laminated cardboard with
the Venn Diagram drawn in the middle of the cardboard.
The students will share their knowledge of their dinosaur's
eating habits with the class and designate where each dinosaur will be placed in the
Review with the students the names of each dinosaur and
emphasize what carnivore, herbivore and omnivore mean. Emphasize on the pronunciation of
each word and what each means.
- Students will learn how to pronounce dinosaurs' names and
their eating habits.
- Students will also learn the geographical locations where
different species of dinosaurs were discovered, by using a world map.
- Students will look at dinosaur drawings and use their
imagination to recreate one or two species of a dinosaur into silhouettes. On the back of
their cutout, they will paste information for future reference. Students will use their
prior research to place the dinosaur silhouettes' onto the geographical map.
- Students will also learn how to draw and measure egg shapes
applying the methods of Math/Pseudo geometry.
- Students will be able to use prior knowledge about dinosaurs
they have studied and demonstrate their knowledge of the dinosaurs' geographic locations.
Students will be able explain the eating habits of many different dinosaurs.
- Black construction paper
- heavy white drawing paper
- colored crayons
- white crayons
- real whole almonds
- very large sheet of white butcher paper
- black & white outlined world map transparency
- colored world map transparency
Focus for Viewing
The specific focus for the students will be the dinosaurs
eating habits. Observe that some dinosaurs eat plants, meat, eggs or combinations.
Students will also focus and learn that dinosaurs have been discovered all over the world
on different continents.
Teacher will review the prior dinosaur name segment from the Reading Rainbow
"Digging Dinosaurs" tape. The teacher will introduce new dinosaur terms with
information about the meaning of the words for example, the paleontologists.
(Paleontologists - is a person(s) who study ancient life).
START the "Digging for Dinosaurs" video at the part where the narrator is
walking into the construction site area. STOP the video when he is next to the jeep.
Interact with the students' by discussing common places where dinosaur fossils have been
START the video again at the dinosaur name pronunciation segment then STOP after
the discovery of the fossil section from the book.
The teacher will write dinosaurs names with the correct spelling and pronunciation
on the chalkboard. The teacher will help the students orally practice pronouncing the
The teacher will review with students that dinosaurs have
been discovered all over the world and ask students to name some common places that
dinosaur fossils have been found and some of their eating habits? Teacher will show the
students' a colored transparency world map and indicate some areas on the world map where
dinosaur fossils have been discovered.
Post Viewing Activity part 1
Students' will use prior information from the video, book,
research and pictures that are placed around the room and recreate their own dinosaurs
Students will use a white crayon to draw the silhouetted dinosaur onto black
construction paper and cut it out with their scissors.
The teacher will hand out dinosaur definition
sheet with the name and information of the dinosaurs and help students' match which
name goes with the students dinosaur.
The student will cut the section and glue the information onto the back of their
dinosaur. (The student will have this information to share with their parents and to help
the students to remember what they have learned).
NOTE: teacher, use the black and white outlined world map transparency to enlarge
the map and retrace it onto a large sheet of white butcher paper or have the students help
you outline the world map and label the dinosaurs' locations.
The students will interact by placing their dinosaurs' according to their species
into the correct geographical locations on the outlined world map. (Tape will be used to
attach dinosaurs' to the outlined world map or thumbtacks if a bulletin board is used).
Post Viewing Activity part II:
Students will use a pencil, ruler and heavy drawing paper
turned horizontally. Students will watch the teacher demonstrate these step-by-step
measurements and shapes on the chalkboard, following along on with their own paper. The
students will mark one dot at the top of the ruler and the second dot at the 7-inch mark.
This will create a lengthwise space of 7 inches in between the two dots. Connect the dots
to make an oblong oval shaped egg.
NOTE: teacher, show the students the almonds shape to
help them understand the second egg shape they will be drawing.
For the second egg shape: mark one dot at the top of the
ruler and the second dot at the 4-inch mark. This will create a lengthwise space of 4
inches between the two dots. Connect the dots to make a long almond shaped egg. Students
observe the different egg shapes and measurements that dinosaurs were believed to have
After students have finished this pseudo math lesson, tell them to color their eggs
with crayons as they think that particular dinosaurs egg would conform to.