Showing posts with label Dinosaurs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dinosaurs. Show all posts

Thursday, January 7, 2016

How Do We Know What Color Dinosaurs Were?

How Do We Know What Color Dinosaurs Were? is a new TED-Ed lesson that answers a question I often had in school. In the lesson we learn how scientists examine the melanosomes of fossilized feathers to determine the colors of some dinosaurs. The lesson explains how the physics of light and color eventually lead scientists to their conclusions.

How Do We Know What Color Dinosaurs Were? is appropriate for middle school and high school students. Read below the video for some resources appropriate for elementary school students.


Dinosaster is an online game in which students move a dinosaur across a timeline in a Mario Brothers-like style of running and jumping. The object of the game is to hit each dinosaur bone along the way. When a new bone is grabbed a new fact card about a dinosaur appears on the screen. The object is to get all the cards and discover why the dinosaurs became extinct.

The Natural History Museum hosts a directory of names, facts, and figures for more than 300 dinosaurs. One of the ways that you can search through the database is by country. Select the "in your country" option to find the dinosaurs that may have roamed the land in what is now your country. The search results will display a grid of drawings the types of dinosaurs in your country. Click on the images to learn more the dinosaurs.

The Walking With Dinosaurs apps (free iPad appfree Android app) use a bit of augmented reality to take students on a virtual walk with dinosaurs. To use the apps you have to print out the "targets" that when scanned reveal a dinosaur's story. The apps also allow your students to include pictures of themselves in settings with the dinosaurs that they learn about through the app.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Dozens of Online Games About Nature

The Canadian Museum of Nature offers a large collection of online games about mammals, birds, and dinosaurs. Choose one of the three categories on the gallery page to see all of the related games. The games are primarily matching activities with some small interactive elements added into the mix. For example, the game about beaver lodges asks students to help create a beaver lodge by dragging the proper pieces together while also making the beavers swim away from predators.

Applications for Education
The games offered by the Canadian Museum of Nature do provide students with a little bit of context and some instruction before and while they are playing. That said, these games are best suited as review activities in elementary school classrooms.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Dinosaster - A Game About Dinosaur Extinction

Culture Street produces a number of neat online activities for kids. In the past I've reviewed their stopmotion video tool and comic book creator. This morning I received an email from Culture Street about a new offering in the form of a game called Dinosaster.

Dinosaster is an online game in which students move a dinosaur across a timeline in a Mario Brothers-like style of running and jumping. The object of the game is to hit each dinosaur bone along the way. When a new bone is grabbed a new fact card about a dinosaur appears on the screen. The object is to get all the cards and discover why the dinosaurs became extinct.

Applications for Education
Culture Street offers a simple lesson plan and worksheet (link opens PDF) to use in conjunction with Dinosaster. The game itself is rather simple, but it could be a fun introduction to a larger lesson about dinosaurs. I have a handful of other resources about dinosaurs available here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Handful of Good Resources for Learning About Dinosaurs

How Do We Know What Dinosaurs Looked Like? is a new video from the crew at Brain Stuff. The video provides a short overview of the clues that paleontologists look for when determining how a dinosaur may have looked when it was alive. The video is appropriate for students at or beyond the fourth grade level.

Watching How Do We Know What Dinosaurs Looked Like? prompted me to look up some of the other dinosaur resources that I've reviewed over the years. Here are some of the better ones that are still online.

The Natural History Museum hosts a directory of names, facts, and figures for more than 300 dinosaurs. One of the ways that you can search through the database is by country. Select the "in your country" option to find the dinosaurs that may have roamed the land in what is now your country. The search results will display a grid of drawings the types of dinosaurs in your country. Click on the images to learn more the dinosaurs.

The Canadian Museum of Nature hosts a good collection of online games and animations about mammals, birds, and dinosaurs. A few of the games and animations are Canada-specific, but those and all of the others have a broad appeal. In the fossils section of the site I viewed an animation through which I learned how horned dinosaurs ate their food.

The Walking With Dinosaurs apps (free iPad appfree Android app) use a bit of augmented reality to take students on a virtual walk with dinosaurs. To use the apps you have to print out the "targets" that when scanned reveal a dinosaur's story. The apps also allow your students to include pictures of themselves in settings with the dinosaurs that they learn about through the app.

The following video from Untamed Science teaches us a bit about how dinosaur skeletons are reconstructed.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Walking With Dinosaurs - Games and Apps

Walking With Dinosaurs is a new movie coming to theaters soon. Based on the trailers I've seen online it looks like a movie that kids will enjoy. The producers of the film have released a free iPad app, a free Android app, and a simple online game to support the movie. The online game is nothing special, it's just a matching activity, but the apps are worth noting.

The Walking With Dinosaurs apps use a bit of augmented reality to take students on a virtual walk with dinosaurs. To use the apps you have to print out the "targets" that when scanned reveal a dinosaur's story. The apps also allow your students to include pictures of themselves in settings with the dinosaurs that they learn about through the app. Watch the video below for a preview of the apps.


Applications for Education
During the holiday break you may have students that see Walking With Dinosaurs in theaters. When they come back from the vacation you might capitalize on their interest in the movie by using these free apps as part of lesson about dinosaurs.

Here are a few more resources for teaching about dinosaurs.
The Natural History Museum hosts a directory of names, facts, and figures for more than 300 dinosaurs. One of the ways that you can search through the database is by country. Select the "in your country" option to find the dinosaurs that may have roamed the land in what is now your country. The search results will display a grid of drawings the types of dinosaurs in your country. Click on the images to learn more the dinosaurs.

The Canadian Museum of Nature hosts a good collection of online games and animations about mammals, birds, and dinosaurs. A few of the games and animations are Canada-specific, but those and all of the others have a broad appeal. In the fossils section of the site I viewed an animation through which I learned how horned dinosaurs ate their food.

The following video from Untamed Science teaches us a bit about how dinosaur skeletons are reconstructed.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Paleontology 101 - Putting Together a Dinosaur Skeleton

Untamed Science and Pearson OLE recently published an extensive blog post about how dinosaurs are discovered and named. The full post includes links to free lesson plans about dinosaurs. The lesson plans are suitable to use with elementary school and middle school students.

The part of the Untamed Science and Pearson OLE dinosaur post that I found most interesting is the following video about how dinosaur fossils are un-earthed and examined. It's not at all like we see in movies.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dozens of Games About Mammals, Birds, and Dinosaurs

The Canadian Museum of Nature hosts a good collection of online games and animations about mammals, birds, and dinosaurs. A few of the games and animations are Canada-specific, but those and all of the others have a broad appeal.

The three games that I tried were focused on the adaptations of animals to their environments. In the mammals section I played a game about the adaptations of polar bears and grizzly bears to their environments. In the birds section I played a matching game in which I had to pair the beak of a bird to the adaptation it represented. And in the fossils section I viewed an animation through which I learned how horned dinosaurs ate their food.

Applications for Education
The games and animations available through the Canadian Museum of Nature are appropriate for elementary school students. The games could prove to be useful as fun activities for students to test the knowledge they gained from one of your lessons about mammals, birds, or dinosaurs.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mapping Dinosaurs

The Natural History Museum hosts a directory of names, facts, and figures for more than 300 dinosaurs. One of the ways that you can search through the database is by country. Select the "in your country" option to find the dinosaurs that may have roamed the land in what is now your country. The search results will display a grid of drawings the types of dinosaurs in your country. Click on the images to learn more the dinosaurs.

Applications for Education
When I browsed through the dinosaurs by country I got the idea to have students create Google Maps about the distribution of dinosaurs. To do this students will have to research where within each country the dinosaurs may have lived. Then on their Google Maps students can add placemarks in the proper locations. Each of their placemarks could include drawings of the dinosaurs as well as some written information about the dinosaurs.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Seven Online Smithsonian Activities for Students

This morning I saw a Tweet promoting the Smithsonian's Folklife Festival. I was lucky enough to take in a part of it a few years ago. If you get a chance, I highly recommend going to the festival. That Tweet prompted me to look in my archives for online Smithsonian activities and resources for students. Here are seven online Smithsonian resources for teachers and students.

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has three great interactive activities about dinosaurs. There is a virtual tour in which students can tour the museum and see close-ups of exhibits. The interactive timeline provides students with an overview of the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic eras. The most fun of the interactive activities is the virtual dinosaur dig. In the virtual dinosaur dig students use a variety of archeologists' tools to unearth fossils and then assemble those fossils.

America on the Move is a great online exhibit produced and hosted by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. America on the Move showcases the evolution of transportation in the United States. America on the Move is divided into three main sections; Exhibition, Collection, and Themes.

Meet Me At Midnight is an online art adventure produced by the Smithsonian. The purpose of Meet Me At Midnight is to introduce students in grades 3-5 to types of art, art concepts, and art vocabulary. In Meet Me At Midnight students go on three adventures within a museum to find artworks to put in a treasure chest. Along the way students will come across information about different types of artwork.

Smithsonian Wild is a Smithsonian website that houses more than 200,000 images of animals in the wild. The pictures on the site were captured using camera traps. Camera traps are cameras, both still image and video, that are attached to a tree or otherwise positioned in a natural habitat. When an animal approaches the camera an infrared sensor triggers the camera to start capturing images and videos. Smithsonian Wild is the result of camera traps around the world.

Who Am I? A History Mystery is a fun and challenging activity from the Smithsonian's The Price of Freedom online exhibit. Who Am I? presents players with six historical characters that they have to identify using the text and image clues provided. To solve the mystery players have to match the visual artifacts to each character.

America by Air is a Smithsonian exhibit containing a series of thirteen online activities that take students through the history of commercial aviation in the United States. Some of the activities that students can explore include examining air routes, pricing tickets, and dressing like a pilot or flight attendant.

Picturing the 1930's is a Smithsonian exhibit about 1930's cinema. In Picturing the 1930's students can walk through a virtual museum exploring paintings, documents, music, and film. While walking through the virtual museum students will be greeted by "tour guides" who will explain various aspects of the exhibit. The virtual museum is easy to navigate by using the arrows at the bottom of the screen or clicking through doorways. After exploring the art work in the virtual museum, students can create their own documentary-style film using images, text, and narration using the Picturing the 1930's film editor.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Listen to Dinosaurs Talk About Themselves

DinoDatabase.com has a great little feature called If Dinosaurs Could Talk. In If Dinosaurs Could Talk you will find twenty audio recordings in which a narrator playing the role of a talking dinosaur shares a little information about that dinosaur.

In addition to the If Dinosaurs Could Talk feature, Dinodatabase.com offers a huge glossary of terms about dinosaurs.

Applications for Education
If Dinosaurs Could Talk could be a nice little resource to use in elementary school lessons about dinosaurs. You could use the audio recordings as a way to spark students' curiosity about dinosaurs before sending them off to read and research more information about the dinosaurs that they just heard talking to them.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Videos - Dinosaurs Through History and Walking With Dinosaurs

This morning's CBS News Sunday Morning Almanac was a short feature on how dinosaurs have been displayed in museums and depicted on screen since they were first named by Sir Richard Owen who died on this day (December 18) in 1892. We also get a quick glimpse of the latest developments in the study of Dinosaurs. The video can be found here or watched as embedded below.


For a slightly more serious look at Dinosaurs check out the BBC's Walking With Dinosaurs playlist on YouTube.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

5 Good Resources for Learning and Teaching About Dinosaurs

As an elementary school student I loved reading books about dinosaurs and I especially enjoyed a field trip to a local museum where we could look at fossils and touch fossil replicas. I also had a collection of plastic model dinosaurs. Recently, one of my friends mentioned in an email that his son is now into learning about dinosaurs. Reading that email prompted me to look for a few web-based games about Dinosaurs. Here are some of the better items that I found.

1. Discovery Channel's Dinosaur Central has games, quizzes, puzzles, and a virtual prehistoric zoo. Students can also go back in time to see, displayed on a map, the dinosaurs that walked in different places of the earth.

2. Kids Dinos is a part of the Kids Know It Network. Kids Dinos offers elementary school students an easy-to-navigate and easy-to-understand database of dinosaur information. Students can learn the names of various dinosaurs through a flashcard game. Kids Dinos also offers students fun activities like "make your own dinosaur," "dinosaur memory," "dinosaur hangman," or "dinosaur painter."

3. The Dinosphere is a website hosted by The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. In the Dinosphere students can choose from five games and activities including building a virtual dinosaur.

4. Scholastic offers students a dinosaur tour, a dinosaur picture book, and a "digging for dinosaurs" fact hunt. Scholastic offers teachers some lesson plans and research projects about dinosaurs.

5. National Geographic Kids has a few dinosaur themed games and displays including this dinosaur brain teaser game. On National Geographic Xpeditions teachers will find a handful of lesson plans like How Do Scientists Find Dinosaur Fossils? that can be used for teaching about dinosaurs in elementary school classrooms.

On the topic of dinosaurs, Snag Films offers National Geographic's Dinosaur Hunters: Secrets of the Gobi Desert.
Watch more free documentaries

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Virtual Dinosaur Dig

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has three great interactive activities about dinosaurs. There is a virtual tour in which students can tour the museum and see close-ups of exhibits. The interactive timeline provides students with an overview of the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic eras. The most fun of the interactive activities is the virtual dinosaur dig. In the virtual dinosaur dig students use a variety of archeologists' tools to unearth fossils and then assemble those fossils.



Applications for Education
The Smithsonian's virtual dinosaur dig could be a fun way for elementary school and middle school students to learn about archeology. The other interactive resources from the Smithsonian are also informative although not quite as engaging and the dinosaur dig.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Download a Dinosaur
Fun Dinosaur Games and Lesson Plans
Dinosaur Trivia Game

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Download a Dinosaur

Download a Dinosaur applies the concepts of paper dolls and origami to dinosaurs. Download a Dinosaur offers sixteen printable templates for creating paper models of dinosaurs. Print the templates on generic copier paper and have students color the models before assembling the dinosaur.

Applications for Education
Download a Dinosaur could be a good resource for pre-K and early elementary school teachers. If you're looking to incorporate a writing element into your dinosaur lesson, have students write a short story about the dinosaurs they've created from the templates.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
My Dinos - Fun, Safe Gaming Environment for Kids
Fun Dinosaur Games and Lesson Plans
Dinosaur Trivia Game

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fun Dinosaur Games and Lesson Plans

As an elementary school student I loved reading books about dinosaurs and I especially enjoyed a field trip to a local museum where we could look at fossils and touch fossil replicas. I also had a collection of plastic model dinosaurs. Recently, one of my friends mentioned in an email that his son is now into learning about dinosaurs. Reading that email prompted me to look for a few web-based games about Dinosaurs. Here are some of the better items that I found.

1. Discovery Channel's Dinosaur Central has games, quizzes, puzzles, and a virtual prehistoric zoo. Students can also go back in time to see, displayed on a map, the dinosaurs that walked in different places of the earth.

2. Kids Dinos is a part of the Kids Know It Network. Kids Dinos offers elementary school students an easy-to-navigate and easy-to-understand database of dinosaur information. Students can learn the names of various dinosaurs through a flashcard game. Kids Dinos also offers students fun activities like "make your own dinosaur," "dinosaur memory," "dinosaur hangman," or "dinosaur painter."

3. The Dinosphere is a website hosted by The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. In the Dinosphere students can choose from five games and activities including building a virtual dinosaur.

4. Scholastic offers students a dinosaur tour, a dinosaur picture book, and a "digging for dinosaurs" fact hunt. Scholastic offers teachers some lesson plans and research projects about dinosaurs.

5. National Geographic Kids has a few dinosaur themed games and displays including this dinosaur brain teaser game. On National Geographic Xpeditions teachers will find a handful of lesson plans like How Do Scientists Find Dinosaur Fossils? that can be used for teaching about dinosaurs in elementary school classrooms.

On the topic of dinosaurs, Snag Films offers National Geographic's Dinosaur Hunters: Secrets of the Gobi Desert.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Dinosaur Trivia Game

Montana's tourism board has a great website for kids called Montanakids. On Montanakids users will find information about Montana and attractions in Montana. Most of the information is specific to Montana, but some of the games and information applies to the larger world. One of the sections useful for students and teachers is Dino Trivia. Dino Trivia is a fun interactive game for elementary students. Students are provided some brief information about dinosaurs before they play the game.

Applications for Education
The Dino Trivia Game on Montanakids provides some brief information about dinosaurs and dinosaur fossils found in Montana. After reviewing the information students play the interactive game.
An extension activity based on Dino Trivia would be to have students research and map the locations of dinosaur fossil discoveries across the country or the world. Students could use Google Maps or a traditional paper and pencil map to complete the activity.