Homeschooling S.T.E.A.M.: Dinosaurs – Week 2

Summer is zipping along…middle of July already? Where does the time go? We’re still learning about dinosaurs here, and will be for the rest of the summer. Not only are the kiddos enjoying it, but I’m learning a lot that I never knew. Perk of homeschooling!

We continued reading in Guide to Dinosaurs, a book which is just packed with all sorts of cool facts. The kids are enthralled. We talked about the potential link between dinosaurs and the stories about dragons, which I found fascinating. We also looked at some really amazing pictures of fossils.

On the book front, I chose four fun little books, randomly selected from the piles of dinosaur books we have at the library. Well, maybe only partially random. The four books consist of one that is at least partially non-fiction, one “How Do Dinosaurs” title, and the last books really are random. I just grab something and go. It’s fun that way!

  • We started out with How Do Dinosaurs Stay Friends? by Jane Yolen. Do all kids enjoy watch misbehavior, or is it just mine? lol
  • Next up was the nonfiction piece, Dinosaurs from Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick. This was a great book. Highly recommended.
  • In the random category came our next book, Digger the Dinosaur and the Cake Mistake by Rebecca Dotlich. I thought it was fine, but I think the humor was lost on the little ones.
  • We ended with another random piece, Dinosaur Train by John Gurney. Barely about dinosaurs, it nevertheless made a wonderful read aloud and the kids greatly enjoyed it.

From there we were off to our project. Since we had been reading about skeleton fossils in our text, I decided to do this fun piece that I discovered at Pink Stripey Socks. Tape resist dinosaur skeletons!

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The instructions are over at the original poster’s site, so I won’t repeat all the steps. I did change a couple things, though, to better work with my kids.

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I used blue painters tape instead of regular masking tape, since it came off so very easily from the watercolor paper. Also, I bought a coloring book, Ferocious Dinos, and let them each choose their favorite. Once they did, they cut it out and taped it, with very small pieces of the tape, to the watercolor paper.

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They then traced around the image with pencil. Once that was done, the image was carefully removed, the blank spots filled in, and the outline traced over with a thin, black permanent marker.

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From there, each kid placed think torn pieces of tape (I helped with the tearing for the little ones.) where the skeleton would be. We had some interesting discussions about what would have been bone and what wouldn’t have been. Then it was time for the watercolors! We don’t use those very often, so this was a nice change of pace.

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The hardest part was waiting for the paint to dry. Are all kiddos so impatient? lol I ended up letting the kids free-paint for a while to fill the time. This actually ended up being a great thing, because the little one, who isn’t much for structured activities yet, but LOVES dinosaurs, joined us so he could paint his own dinosaur. I’m not gonna lie here. I was way impressed with his work. It really looks like a dinosaur, don’t you think?

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Not bad for a three-year-old! Probably better than I would have done, that’s for sure!

Once they were all dry, the kids very carefully pulled up the tape, leading to an interesting discussion about the tape resist technique.

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When the kids were all done, we talked about what we can really KNOW from just the skeletons and what is just educated guessing. Go, science!

This was a great activity that embodied the S.T.E.A.M. target, working heavily with both science and the arts. And the kids ended up with some great pieces to show off. My personal favorite? One of the kiddos used a little too much paint and tried to move the page while still wet. The result? The paint ran a little, making the dinosaur look like it’s fencing. Love that Beautiful Oops!!

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