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!

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. Do activity #1 in this blog post. (Scroll all the way to the bottom to download.) You can use the printed cards, or, if you purchased or have dinosaur figurines, measure those instead. You may also want to use a ruler instead of the counting blocks.

Activity 4: Dinosaur punctuation game.

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: Dinosaur comparison activity. Scroll down in that post until you get to the Venn diagram printable. Practice comparing and contrasting the dinosaurs in the printable, or you can have your child draw their favorites from our books and compare those. (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 100.)

Activity 3: Let’s prep our dinosaurs for a dig we’ll do later this week. Using the Paleontology Dig near the bottom of this post as inspiration, create your dig using a foil baking dish, dinosaur figurines, and a mixture of 2 parts corn starch: 1 part water to fill your dish halfway. It will take a few days to dry, so set aside until Friday.

Activity 4: Gross motor dino-game. 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.
(+) Looking for more of a challenge? Try these dinosaur letter tiles to practice finding the first letter sound of these dino-inspired words.

Activity 3: Let’s do some dino math with 10 frames. Use the activity at the top of this post as inspiration, but you can use our printable for your 10 frame and number cards. 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.

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 and subtraction activity. If your child isn’t ready for mental math, have counting manipulatives handy to help them find the sum or difference.

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.

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

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Published by learnandliveletter

The Learn + Live Letter is a play- and project-based homeschool curriculum for children ages 3-11.

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