Dinosaurs Part 1 Recap

Happy Sunday! I am heading back to Halifax tomorrow for the week to continue on with curriculum work. While I am gone, my class will be working on lots of activities from my Earth Day activity pack. The pack includes 10 different activities appropriate for grades primary and one, ready to print and go! You can check it out in my TpT store by clicking any of the images below.


We have had a busy couple of weeks in my classroom! In fact, due to circumstances beyond our control and a couple of school-wide activities, it took us two weeks to get through what I had planned to accomplish in a week. Oops! So, we have only had time to discuss our first and third big questions. We will continue on with question number two and our writing project to answer number three when I head back to school next week.

To start out our dinosaur exploration, I arrived at school with a giant papier mâché egg. I got this idea from Deanna Jump's dinosaur unit. This worked out really well timing-wise, because the Easter Bunny had just visited us ;) We talked about making inferences and used a recording sheet to record our ideas of what could be inside due to the egg's appearance. The recording sheet will be included in my dinosaur unit when it is all ready to go! After our initial inferences, I gave my students three clues, and then we made another inference and talked about how some of our guesses changed. We also had to talk a little bit about checking whether our inferences made sense... yes, the egg was white, but are polar bears oviparous?! While they were outside for recess, the egg hatched... and we drew a final picture of what was inside:
 We filled out our Tableau SVA with what we already knew and wanted to know about dinosaurs and read our first book. Then we added a few things we learned.
Please excuse my printing/spelling/grammar... you have to write quickly when 15 kids are excitedly sharing their knowledge!!

Here is a reminder of our first big exploration question:

1. Comment est-ce que les différents outils peuvent nous aider à...

  • Faire des découvertes
  • Résoudre les problèmes
  • Changer l'apparence/la texture des substances?
 We used tools a LOT throughout the week to make discoveries, solve problems, and change the appearance and texture of objects. First, we discussed paleontologists, what their jobs are, and the tools they use while working. I wrote a little song to help us remember. It will be included in my dinosaur unit, but HERE is a freebie Google doc version of the words. It goes to the tune of "Itsy Bitsy Spider".

Our first activity was one of the best activities I have done in my (short) teaching career! I made dinosaur eggs out of baking soda and enough water to make dough. I put a little dollar store dinosaur in the centre of each egg. I forgot to take a picture of the eggs when they were whole, but they were really great - a perfect weight and texture for convincing dino eggs. I placed them on a cookie sheet with a whole assortment of tools - paintbrushes, magnifying glasses, Q-tips, plastic knives and spoons, toothpicks, popsicle sticks, plastic tweezers, etc... along with an eye dropper and a little cup of vinegar. I told them nothing except to try whatever tools they liked to hatch the egg, and to remember to be a good partner (we did this in groups of 2-3). It only took about 5 minutes for the first group to get their dinosaur out (using the knife and spoon like a chisel). Their dinosaur was still covered in "egg", so they decided to drop it into the "water" (I hadn't told them what was in the cup) to wash it off. Well!!! The screams of excitement when the "water" exploded were just magical! Everyone was so excited and started immediately trying to make theirs explode, some using the eye dropper and some just dumping it all in the cup. This turned the solid eggs into goo, changing their appearance, and solved the problem of getting the dinosaurs out of the eggs and cleaning the dinos off. My students also discovered that what was in the cup was not in fact water. It was a super fun experiment and I HIGHLY recommend it!
Just look at that joy and excitement!
We used a recording sheet to record our observations and share which tool worked best.
Love when they change the worksheet to make it grammatically correct for their answer haha

Another activity we did to practice using tools also came from Deanna Jump's dinosaur unit. We did a chocolate chip cookie excavation! Each child received a cookie, two plastic knifes, and a paintbrush and had to carefully extract all the chocolate chips from their cookie and count them. We have focused a lot on counting strategies this year and I was pleased to see them being used reflexively!
My little paleontologists all ready to go!

We also did some adorable diplodocus directed drawings for art. I love directed drawing! My class loves to paint, so we trace our drawings with black crayon and use disk paints to paint them. I love how even though every child gets the same instructions, they all turn out so differently. Here is the pin where I found the directions, but when I tried to open it, the page could not be found, so I just used the instructions right on the pin.

Enjoy your week!

Peek at my week - Dinosaurs!

I am so excited to be back in the classroom this week. The committee work was excellent, and gave me a nice break, but... it made me realize that the classroom is really where I love to be. I am loving the work we did and really enjoyed myself, but I don't think that I could work on curriculum full-time and not be in the classroom!

I am linking up with Deedee Wills from Mrs Wills' Kindergarten to show you a peek at my week:

This week (which is only a 3 day week for my kiddos!) and next we will be learning lots about dinosaurs, in order to answer these 3 big questions:

1. Comment est-ce que les différents outils peuvent nous aider à...
  • Faire des découvertes
  • Résoudre les problèmes
  • Changer l'apparence/la texture des substances?
2.  Comment est-ce que les qualités et les traits physiques (y compris les parties du corps/leur développement) affectent le comportement et les habilitiés des êtres vivants?

3. Comment est-ce qu'on peut utiliser l'évidence des textes afin de déterminer si un dinosaure ferait un bon animal de compagnie ou pas?

This week, we are focusing on the first question, next week the second, and we will be looking for evidence to help us answer our third question during both weeks. These 3 questions actually cover a lot of outcomes! I like teaching this way, through essential questions, because it is easy to combine outcomes from both grades, and evaluate each student based on what they need to know for their grade level, while we all participate in the same activities as much as possible. Also, it helps us all keep in mind what we are trying to learn and figure out. Even though I have a combined class, I think that teaching to everyone at the same time is very important and more effective than giving one grade a task to work on quietly while I teach the other grade. Just my personal preference!

Through these questions, I can evaluate a whole bunch of Science and Health outcomes - asking questions, using and exploring tools in a safe way, working well in a team, using tools to change/alter the appearance or texture of substances, using tools to solve problems, naming parts of the body (interior for grade one, exterior for primary), recognizing qualities and physical traits, etc. - and we will be practicing a million and one literacy outcomes all week long. We will be making inferences, activating our schema, finding essential points, comparing texts, showing our understanding of texts in different ways, answering questions, etc. We will also be learning what a timeline is, looking at a timeline of when the dinosaurs lived, and making timelines of our own lives (a grade one Health outcome), which will in turn show us how our bodies have changed as we have gotten older (a grade primary Health outcome). I chose dinosaurs as a theme to help us work through these essential questions, because my class LOVES dinosaurs. I like to choose topics based on what my students are interested in, and then figure out a way to work our outcomes into them. Engagement is the name of the game!

I plan on compiling all our activities into a Teachers Pay Teachers unit, but since I haven't tested them out yet I am going to wait until the trial run is over. So stay tuned for a Friday post to see how week one of dino fun goes!

Hope you had a fantastic Easter... this is what mine currently looks like! ;)