Delectable Dazzling Dinosaurs

In Room 10 we have an abundance of curious minds, constantly thinking of wonderful wonder questions about a range of topics.  We sat down as a class and shared our wonders with each other. We discovered that many of us have similar wonders, we wonder about topics such as dinosaurs, space, and under the sea. We came up with some questions in relation to these topics and decided to begin by investigating dinosaurs.

Pania wondered "when did the dinosaurs die?" and Juno wondered "how are dinosaur fossils made?". We began by watching an educational video clip on dinosaurs, throughout the clip the word ‘extinct’ was used repetitively, this was our word of the week. As a class, we discussed what we thought its definition might be. Charlie thought it might mean “dead”, many of us in Room 10 agreed with him. After a little more discussion as a class, we came to the conclusion that not only did ‘extinct’ means dead but the death of a whole group of animals such as the dinosaurs.

We also learnt that dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago, before humans even existed! Our minds found it hard to comprehend exactly how long ago this really was. Paige thought 65 million years ago was "20 years ago". Many of us were confused with this concept of time and so we decided the best way to better understand it was to create our very own scaled timeline. We all agreed that 65 million years ago was a very long time ago and therefore would require a larger than usual timeline and area to construct it. We used our extensive school field and a lengthy rope that our groundskeeper Anaru kindly located for us. Our timeline began 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs became extinct and ended now (present day). As a class we stepped out the timeline, each step representing 5 million years in time, we counted in 5s as a class until we reached 65. In order to gauge how long ago 65 million years really is we placed benchmarks we could relate to on the timeline. These benchmarks included when we were born, parents were born, grandparents were born, New Zealand was discovered, and humans we know today first existed. Finlay observed that our benchmarks were “very close together” on our timeline and Isobel commented that there was “a big gap” between now and when the dinosaurs became extinct. We discussed how this demonstrated that 65 million years ago was an incredibly long time ago, much longer than 20 years ago.

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Room 10 stepping out their timeline Counting in 5s to 65

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Lily Alex Paige Indie J Brooke and Indie K holding timeline benchmarks

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Gap between now benchmarks and 65 million years ago

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Room 10 timeline

As part of oral language, we have been learning same and different. We explored how dinosaurs are classified, we firstly identified and then labelled the parts of a range of different dinosaurs. As a class, we discussed the different parts of each dinosaur and how we could use these to classify them into groups. Travis suggested we could classify them by “long neck and short neck” and Clara suggested we classify the dinosaurs by “four-legged and two-legged”. We are learning to write red, white, and blue sentences (a sentence that includes the use of commas and is used when you have a few ideas or details to write about) and used our labelled dinosaurs as inspiration for these.

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Indie and Paige labeling their dinosaurs

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Bailey labeling her dinosaur

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Te Pou Travis Clara Fletcher Finlay and Juno cutting gluing and labeling their dinosaurs

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Brooke red white and blue sentence

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Carys red white and blue sentence

After reading My Dinosaur ABC and discovering and learning about even more types of dinosaurs we designed and created our very own dinosaurs, pulling inspiration from the dinosaurs we had examined and our own imagination. Firstly we created our dinosaur’s bodies using half a paper plate, PVA glue, and an abundance of sparkly glitter. After we had created the body we chose body parts from a variety of different kinds of dinosaurs (legs, arms, head, tail, etc) and attached them. Finally, we glued a tiny eye onto our dinosaurs so that they could see. Once we had created the dinosaurs we wrote a red, white, and blue sentence about their physical features and gave them a funky name, some of us named the dinosaurs after ourselves and others came up with original names. With support from Miss Neal, we created our very own Room 10 Dinosaur Mashup Book using the Book Creator App. We learnt how to take a photo correctly using the iPad and add text to the page.

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My Dinosaur ABC

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Brooke creating her dinosaur body

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Clara covering her dinosaur body in gold glitter

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Charlie cutting out his dinosaur parts

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Isobel Te Pou Brooke Clara Paige and Indie J cutting out their dinosaur parts

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Room 10 Dinosaur Mashup

Many of us had questions and wonders about fossils. We watched another educational video this time on fossils that showed us visually step by step how dinosaur fossils were formed. We learnt that over millions of years dinosaur bones were covered in layers of earth that then pressurised together and hardened to form rock. The dinosaur bones disintegrate over time leaving a cavity in the earth the exact shape of the bones, sometimes minerals seeped in and hardened replacing the bones. The fossil then rose to the surface and was exposed. In groups, we made our own fossils in order to better understand this process. As we didn’t have millions of years to spare or real dinosaur bones we adapted by using playdough, a plastic dinosaur, and plaster of paris. We began by pressing the playdough firmly into the bottom of our containers, this represented the top layer of earth in prehistoric times. Using our fingers we then carefully pressed the plastic dinosaur into the playdough and removed it, leaving a cavity. Lastly, we poured the plaster of paris over the top of the playdough and left it overnight to harden, just like the layers of earth that over time built up and pressurise together to form rock. The next morning we turned our fossils upside down and with a forceful whack they came free from the playdough exposing a dinosaur fossil. Carys said with much enthusiasm “oh wow! That’s amazing!” we all found the fossils very fascinating and gained a better understanding of the fossil forming process. We used our fossil learning as inspiration for more writing.

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Te Pou pressing the play dough into the container

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Paige and Indie J pressing play dough into the bottom of their container

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Travis carefully pressing the plastic dinosaur into the play dough to create a cavity

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Clara and Carys observing

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Dinosaur cavity in the playdough

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Finlay and Fletcher with their half formed fossil

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Alex observing just after plaster of paris has been poured on top of play dough

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Izak with his groups completed fossil

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Carys whacking the set fossil so that it comes free

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Bailey and Indie K with their dinosaur fossil

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Zayn and Charlie with their dinosaur fossil

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Joseph with his groups dinosaur fossil

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Amber with her groups dinosaur fossil

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Dinosaur Fossil

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Dinosaur Fossil

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Dinosaur Fossil

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Brooke Pania Carys and Finlay writing about fossils

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Isobels writing about the fossil forming process

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Isobels writing second page

As a class we will continue to investigate other wonders and integrate this exciting and engaging learning across our everyday programme.

Watch our 'Room 10 Dinosaur Mashup' video here

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Keywords: Dinosaurs, Wonders,  Science, Writing.

Curriculum Link:

Science (Level 1 – exploration, play, ask and act on questions, discuss simple models, build language, develop understanding, group living things, and explain how living things from the past are not extinct)

English (Level 1 – writing and oral language)

Maths (Level 1 - measurement – time)

The Arts (Level 1 - investigate visual ideas in response to a variety of motivations, observation, and imagination)

Technology (Level 1 - explore functions of technological systems functions)

Key Competencies: Thinking, Language, symbols, and text, and participating and contributing.

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