Level 2: Dinosaur Unit

Dinosaurs once ruled the earth—let’s let them have a little fun ruling our homeschool this week, shall we? In this unit, we’ll work literacy skills as we examine all the different types of dinosaurs who roamed, flew, and swam our planet. We’ll flex our math muscles with a variety of games and puzzles. And we’ll end our week with a paleontologist-worthy dino dig. Ready to learn? Let’s stomp to it! 🦖 Click here to download our tracking document to keep tabs on all your books read and skills worked on this week.

Note: Occasionally we include project upgrades (which can be useful for children looking for a challenge). We’ll mark those with the plus (+) symbol.

What you need:

Books (find at your local library or order below on Amazon):

Optional additional reading:

  • Brick by Brick Dinosaurs by Warren Elsmore (If you have a child who loves dinosaurs and LEGO, this book is a dream come true!)

Supplies (use what you have, but here are links to shop if you need anything):

What to do:

This is the order we recommend doing the activities in order to build on each skill your child will develop, but it is not required. Do what works for you and your child. If they love an activity, feel free to repeat! Not a winner? Skip and try the next thing. Have fun!

Phonics Guide:

New to our phonics guide? Start here. The Phonics Guide this week will introduce a phonics rule about double consonants. Dinosaur-themed words like skull and egg follow this rule. So do high frequency words like well, off, and tell.

Lesson 1:

Start by introducing The Magnificent Book of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures. As you read, point out the different features of the dinosaurs. Ask your child what they think a dinosaur needed their horns or spikes or long necks for. Practice flapping like a pterodactyl or stomping like a T-Rex to engage their body awareness. And don’t worry if they don’t want to read every fact or even finish the book—the main goal is to show them the variety of dinosaurs that existed.

Activity 1: Dinosaurs lived virtually everywhere on earth—even your backyard! Use this interactive map to discover what dinosaurs may have walked in your area.

Activity 2: Like lizards today, most dinosaurs were likely cold-blooded. Watch this brief video to learn the difference between cold- and warm-blooded animals. Next, do this color-changing slime experiment to bring this lesson to life. A couple of tips to get best results for this experiment:

  • If you haven’t made slime this way before, make sure to really mix the glue and water before you start adding the borax solution—the smoother your water and glue solution, the smoother your slime will be.
  • Make your slime at least 30 minutes before you start this experiment. Put the pink/purple slime in the fridge before demonstrating the color change so your child can see the biggest change in temperature.
  • If you don’t purchase the black light flashlight, you can set the photosensitive slime on a sunny window sill for 5-10 minutes to see the color start to change.

Activity 3: Dinosaur measurement activity. Download and print these cards, or you can use dinosaur figurines if you have them. Using counting blocks (for non-standard measurement) or a ruler (for standard measurement), have your child measure the line on each dinosaur to find their length or height. Use a pencil to write the answer on each card.

Once they have all the answers, see if they can put the dinosaurs in order by length and height.

Activity 4: Let’s practice some punctuation with this Dinosaur Punctuation Game! Print the pages on sturdy cardstock (and laminate, if possible). Cut out the cards, shuffle, and stack face down. You will also need small pieces to be player pieces (like a dinosaur figurine, small stones, pennies, etc.). Put all the players at START. Before you begin to play, review with your child what a period (.) and a question mark (?) are, as well as their roles at the end of a sentence.

Next, let’s play! Take turns drawing cards from the pile. Read the card together, and then that player gets to move to the next bone with the appropriate ending punctuation, either a period or a question mark. If your child is having a hard time figuring out the answer, don’t be afraid to get a little silly overemphasizing the question or statement of the sentence!

Take turns drawing and moving until you reach the FINISH.

Lesson 2:

Today, we’ll work that little imagination as we look closer at how dinosaurs might have looked and behaved! Start by reading Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled. As you read, point out and identify the descriptive words (or adjectives) throughout the book.

Activity 1: Let’s practice comparing and contrasting the dinosaurs with this Venn diagram printable. Have your child pick two dinosaurs they like from today’s book to compare and contrast. (Tip: Scribe for your child if this isn’t an exercise they are ready for. Alternatively, you could use your moveable alphabet for this activity.)

Activity 2: Dinosaur Number Puzzles. (You can print the puzzles that has numbers you are currently working on, or print them all to practice numbers up to 110.)

Activity 3: Let’s prep our dinosaurs for a dig we’ll do later this week. Start by creating a mixture of 2 parts corn starch: 1 part water and fill a small aluminum baking dish halfway. Place several dinosaur figurines into the mixture and set aside to dry. (It should be ready by Friday!)

Activity 4: Let’s get in some gross motor work with this Dinosaur Gross Motor Game. Print the game on a piece of cardstock and cut out the spinner and the arrow. Use a brad to attach the arrow and take turns spinning and following the instructions on the card. If you are unfamiliar with the dinosaur named, look it up together! This would also work great with a group, outdoors, or in a playground.

Lesson 3:

It’s almost time for our dinosaur dig! Today, let’s read Dinosaur Lady to learn about a famous paleontologist.

Activity 1: Does your child wonder why we don’t see dinosaurs anymore? Scientists aren’t 100% sure, but this kid-friendly video shares some of their top theories.

Activity 2: Dinosaur word mats. If possible, we recommend laminating these pintables to help them last longer. Print out the cards and letter eggs and cut them each out. Work with your child to use the letter eggs to create words on the CVC word cards, seeing how many words you can make with each. Tip: If you have a moveable alphabet, use the letter tiles instead of cutting out the letter eggs.

We have given you quite a few cards, so you may want to present them to your child one vowel at a time or even just one card at a time if this is a new skill. Work on it throughout the week!
(+) Looking for more of a challenge? Practice spelling words with double consonants in this fill-in-the-blank printable. Use your letter tiles to make it more tactile.

Activity 3: Let’s do some dino-math with 10 frames and number cards using this printable. Print 2-3 copies of the 10 frame page, then cut out the number cards on pages 2 and 3. Present your child with the 10 frame and one of the cards and have them fill in the 10 frame to the correct number using dinosaur figures, pom poms, or some other manipulative. You can also print an extra blank 10 frame to create number cards beyond 20. Practice identifying, adding, and/or subtracting numbers with your mini dinosaurs or another counter. To work on bigger numbers, print multiples of the frame page and use them to write bigger number cards.

Activity 4: Listen to this story-bot song to learn more about the tyrannosaurus, velociraptors, triceratops and more. If you are a screen free family, Alexa will also play story-bots songs. These songs have a catchy beat, so get up and dance along.

Lesson 4:

Today, let’s learn more about paleontology! Start by reading How the Dinosaur Got to the Museum (or here on Openlibrary).

Activity 1: Watch this video to get a peek into the life of a paleontologist.

Activity 2: Paleontology cards. Print these cards (and laminate, if possible). After reviewing them, have your child use a moveable alphabet or pencil and paper to practice writing some of the terms. You can also print doubles of the cards to play a game of memory.

Activity 3: Dinosaur color-by-number addition activity. If your child isn’t ready for mental math, have counting manipulatives handy to help them find the sums.

Lesson 5:

The day of our dino dig has finally arrived! Let’s dig in.

Activity 1: Present your child with the now hardened dino dig tray. Give them paintbrushes, spoons or small shovels, a chisel, and a hammer and let them start digging!

(+) Want to upgrade this activity? Keep records of your dig by drawing a grid on a paper to represent your dig tray. Record what items were found in each square.

Activity 2: Once you have freed your dinosaurs, use them to create these salt dough fossils.

Activity 3: Dinosaur word search.

Activity 4: If they haven’t gotten their fill of paleontology, end the day with this sweet cookie “dig.”

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Published by The Learn + Live Letter

The Learn + Live Letter is a play- and project-based homeschool curriculum for children ages 3-12.

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