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H/Science at Home: Dinosaurs

Science at Home: Dinosaurs

Learn It

Dinosaurs are amazing extinct creatures that lived during the Mesozoic Era (from 252 to 66 million years ago).  Their fossils have been found on every continent.  Over their long historymany different species evolved in all different sizes and shapes. 

Paleontology is the field of science that studies the history of life on Earth that is preserved in fossils in rocks.  Sometimes paleontologists can find hard parts like teeth and bones, and other times, the only evidence left behind may be footprints, or impressions of a shell, leaf, or body.  Some fossils that are hundreds of millions of years old look very much like organisms that are alive today, like horseshoe crabscockroaches, and ginkgo trees.  Others, like fossilized dinosaurs, allow us to learn about creatures that became extinct long before there were any humans on Earth. 

Videos to Watch

Learn how scientists revise their understandings of past life on Earth in light of new evidence in this read-aloud of the book, Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs (by Kathleen V. Kudlinski and S.D. Schindler, 2008) Watch Here

Learn how scientists at the American Museum of Natural History compare fossils with living organisms to interpret dinosaur appearance and behavior Watch Here

PBS Kids Dinosaur Train (for early learners)

What are fossils?  What does a paleontologist do? Watch Here
How do paleontologists know that T. rex had good eyesight and sense of smell? Watch Here
How do paleontologists use creature features to classify groups of dinosaurs? Watch Here

Sing Along!

I Am a Paleontologist (by They Might Be Giants, Danny Weinkauf) Watch Here
Music Video Cartoons (by Howdytoons) Watch Here

Try It

Imagine a new kind of dinosaur and draw it:

  • How big is it? (as big as a bus, or as small as a little dog?)
  • Can it run fast? (does it stand on 2 legs, or 4?)
  • Does it hunt and eat other animals, or eat only plants? (what kind of teeth will it have?)
  • Does it have horns or spikes or a long neck?

Show with your body how these animals moved:

Imagine you are a T. rex
Your arms are really short! You can’t pick up your food to bite it. You’ll have to stomp on your food with your feet and rip it with your big teeth.

Imagine you are a Triceratops
You have horns on your head! You can use those to protect yourself from being eaten by other dinosaurs.

Imagine you are an Apatosaurus
Your neck is SOOOO long! You can reach up high in the trees for nice, juicy, green leaves to eat.

Share It

Help us to bring science to life! 

Take a photo or video of you and your family doing some of the above activities and tag us on social media with the hashtag #ScienceAtHomeDSC

Facebook: @davincisciencecenter
Twitter: @davinciscience
Instagram: @davincisciencecenter

We’ll share some of our favorites so that we can all learn from each other! Plus, check back on this page where we’ll highlight the submissions we receive so you can see what others are doing!

Here are just a few ideas for photos or videos you can share:

  • A drawing of a dinosaur you made. If you want, you can explain how you think it would move, eat, and live.  
  • Color a dinosaur mask and show with your body how a dinosaur moves.
  • A parody song, remix, or a poem you wrote about being a paleontologist, or about being a dinosaur! 

For More Information

  • PBS Kids Dinosaur Train field guide Learn More
  • Info on T. rex and many more dinosaurs from the American Museum of Natural History Learn More
  • Clips from the 1999 BBC showWalking With Dinosaurs  Learn More
  • PBS Eons video about feathers on dinosaurs (for high schoolers and up) Learn More

Coming Soon to Da Vinci Science Center

Expedition: Dinosaur

Walk among life-size, realistic, animatronic dinosaurs!  Be sure to stay up-to-date on what’s coming next by signing up for our email newsletter.