As a teacher, you’re always looking for ways to spark your students’ curiosities. Since kids already love dinosaurs, why not use them as a way to ignite an early love of learning about science. Here’s how:
Find a nonfiction book about dinosaurs that’s appropriate for your grade level. Before you read it to the class, ask students what they already know about them. Make a list on chart paper of everything they know. Next have them tell you everything they want to learn about dinosaurs. Add this to the chart paper. Then read the book aloud. Finally, add some things that they learned from the book. This is known as a KWL chart:
But wait! Now that you’ve done all of this, it may spark even more curiosity about dinosaurs. Go back to your chart and in the W Column, highlight the things they learned from the book and then add things they still want to learn about to the list.
Now that you have them hooked…
Get some dinosaur figures that are realistic so the students can hold them and investigate what they look like.
If that’s not possible, get pictures of real dinosaurs. Have students ask you questions based on what they see/feel. Here are some questions they may ask if they haven’t already been answered:
- What are their names?
- Why do some dinosaurs walk on 2 legs and some on 4?
- What are the spikes for and why don’t all dinosaurs have them?
- What are their tails used for?
- What do they eat?
They’ve learned a lot but they want to know more. If your students are old enough, they can do some of their own research on something that interests them about dinosaurs. Brainstorm ideas together. Some ideas to get you started are:
- What do paleontologists do?
- Who has found fossils and how did they dig them up?
- Why did dinosaurs become extinct?
Then let them relay everything they learn to the class. They can make a diorama. They can create a rap. They can partner up with another student and put on a play. They can write a report. Let them decide.
Post Dinosaur Curiosity
After learning so much about dinosaurs, it may make them want to study other natural sciences like chemistry or biology. Or, it may spark an interest in natural history. The possibilities are endless.
And of course, we are curious. What are some things you do to inspire your students’ curiosity? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.