Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Joy School - Flying Dinosaurs

October brought with it a new theme for Joy School: Dinosaurs

We usually include this in our yearly rotation, but last June, (which was slated as 'dinosaur month') was so crazy for the Joy School moms, that we ended up missing all but one week. So I bumped it up in the cycle so that if June is too hard to do again this year we wouldn't miss out again.

I assigned myself the lesson on Flying Dinosaurs because I hadn't had a turn teaching this before, and I knew it would be a more difficult one to come up with things for... I felt like I should take my turn with it. (My favourite of the dino lessons to teach is the fossils day. So much great stuff!)

In the end, I think it went well and we had lots of fun things to do.

Lesson Time:

We talked about how we use the word 'dinosaur' to mean many prehistoric creatures, but really, the flying dinosaurs had their own special name: Pteradons.

Pteradons came in many sizes. Some had bodies as small as a soft ball with wings that were about 2 feet, and some were so big they had wingspans comparable to an airplane. The largest was the Quetzalcoatlus and it is the largest flying animal that has ever been discovered.

Pteradons were carnivores, and many lived near water to eat seafood. Some had sharp teeth, and others had teeth like a baleen whale and they would sieve the food out of the water. Some had pouches like a modern day pelican and would scoop up water just like the pelican does. (to demonstrate this, I had a bowl of water, a floating toy fish, and a measuring cup and used the measuring cup to skim out the fish)

Art Time:

I passed out pictures of the fossilized remains of pteradons and the kids used dry spaghetti and white glue to make their own on a sheet of black paper. I thought that the spaghetti would be a good choice since all the bones looked long and skinny in the photos and it is easy for the kids to break it into different lengths for the different bones.

Music Time: There really aren't that many children's songs that I could find that were specifically about Pteradons, rather than dinosaurs. I did find a couple on Youtube so we watched those:

Then I switched up the words to one of our favourite action songs,"Sleeping Bunnies" to "Sleeping Pteradons" and instead of hopping we 'flap, flap, flapped."

Science Time:
While we were talking about bones, we moved into science time. I had two paper towel rolls; one was empty, the other we filled with marbles. We lifted them up and felt which was heavier, and we made predictions as to which would be stronger. Then we balanced heavy books on the top of each to see if they could hold the same amount of weight. They could. Which type of bone do you think Pteradons had? Hollow or solid? They had hollow bones. They were still strong like the solid ones, but because they were hollow, they were much lighter, which allowed the Pteradons to fly.

Snack Time:

Since many pteradons got their food from the water, I thought it would be fun to do the same, and we bobbed for apples.

Story Time: I found a couple of good books from the library that featured Pteradons. The Littlest Dinosaur's Big Adventure and Dizzy Dinosaurs: Silly Dino Poems.

Craft Time: we made puzzles.
I handed out pictures to each child for them to colour.

When they were done colouring, they got a pair of scissors and cut up their pictures into different sized pieces. Then we traded the puzzles and tried to put together someone else's.

We ran out of time for Wiggle Time this week with all our other activities, but the plan was to play, 'dinosaur, dinosaur, pteradon' like 'duck,duck, goose' to reinforce that the flying dinosaurs had their own special name.

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