Academic Learning Centers for Theme Unit on Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Times

Often times learning centers are used in the classroom and I have developed a few ideas to go with a unit on dinosaurs and prehistoric times. These centers should not be running all at once. The centers that involve a lot of art would be run at different times throughout this unit. The centers that are meant to remain open throughout the unit include the "Dino-Definitions" center, the "Dino-Journal" center" and the "Dino-Poems" center. As a means of record keeping, students will use a center tracker to mark when they have completed activities in different centers. This is basically a poster that you would have the students place stickers on to keep track of when they visit the various centers and complete the different activities.

Dinosort Center

This center is a card sort related to dinosaurs. One sort includes cards with pictures of dinosaurs and their names. They are to be sorted as being either meat-eating or plant-eating dinosaurs. Another dinosort activity would be a fossil sort. Different fossils (or fossil pictures if actual fossils can not be found) are to be classified as molds, casts, trace or true form fossils.

Objectives: After viewing pictures of specific dinosaurs or fossils, the students will sort those pictures into specified categories.

Directions: View the pictures found at this center and sort them according to the specified categories. For the activity with the dinosaurs, the student must classify those pictures as being herbivores or carnivores. For the activity with the fossils, the student must classify the fossils as being cast, mold, trace or true form fossils.

Self-checking: The students will use the answer keys provided after completing the card sorts to check that they sorted the pictures or objects correctly.

Scheduling: This center will allow for approximately five students at one time. Those five students should not spend more than fifteen minutes at this center.

Materials Needed for Center:

1. Index Cards
2. Pictures of meat-eating and plant-eating dinosaurs (five of each)
3. Mold, cast, trace, and true form fossils or fossil pictures
4. Two answer keys: One for meat/plant-eating dinosaurs and one for fossil sort

Dino-Poems Center

This center requires students to create acrostic poems with different dinosaur names. Books will accompany this center to allow students reference materials for coming up with their poems. A student is to pick a dinosaur, write an acrostic poem to go with this dinosaur's name, and use the provided reference materials to make the acrostic poem meaningful and accurate.

Objectives: After reviewing informational books about different dinosaurs, the students will create acrostic poems based on factual information about a specific dinosaur.

Directions: Each student will receive a "Dino-Poems" worksheet to use at this center. Students are to choose a dinosaur to create a poem about. They should look through different informational books to locate facts about the dinosaur. After locating information about the dinosaur, the student is to use that information to make an acrostic poem. Each letter in the dinosaur's name should be used in making the acrostic poem.

Self-checking: Once a dinosaur poem is completed, a student is to have a peer at the center check their poem for accuracy and to make sure all directions were followed.

Scheduling: This center could allow for six students at one time. This activity can be more challenging than others, therefore students can take up to thirty minutes at this center.

Materials Needed for Center:

1. Different informational books about different dinosaurs
2. Dino-Poems Worksheets

Dino-Journal Center

This center will allow students to write down questions and other information that they have learned about dinosaurs. Questions such as "What is something you have learned about one of your favorite dinosaurs?" and "What would you have done if you were a dinosaur?" are examples of common journal questions.

Objectives: After participating in class discussions and reading books about prehistoric times, students will respond to journal prompts, recording information that they have learned about dinosaurs as well as questions that they might have about prehistoric times.

Directions: The students are to respond to a journal prompt in their "Dino-Journals." This journal will not be graded, rather it is a means for students to express their ideas and questions about the topic presented.

Scheduling: This center allows for no more than ten students at a time. Students must not spend more than ten minutes at this center.

Self-checking: This activity is one with few constraints, therefore there is little need for assessment. The student either responds to the questions or doesn't.

Materials Needed for Center:

1. Paper
2. Dino-Journals
3. Journal Questions

Prehistoric-Art Center

Students will be provided with a number of prehistoric art samples. They are to create their own prehistoric art pictures using charcoal pencils.

Objectives: After reviewing prehistoric art samples, the students will create their own prehistoric pictures using charcoal pencils, dark colors, and sketch paper.

Directions: The students are to base their prehistoric pictures off of the samples provided. Charcoal pencils, dark crayons, and sketch paper are to be used for this project.

Scheduling: This center can allow for no more than six people at a time. Students must not spend more than twenty minutes at this center.

Self-checking: This activity requires no assessment. The student either does the activity or doesn't. This center is based on students' creativity.

Materials Needed for Center:

1. Prehistoric art samples
2. Charcoal pencils
3. Dark colored crayons
4. Sketch paper

Dinosaur-Skeleton Center

Students create fossil skeletons of dinosaurs in this center. For this activity an assortment of chicken or turkey bones, pieces of sturdy cardboard, and pictures of several dinosaur skeletons are needed. The bones can be prepared by boiling them for three hours and then carefully cleaning them. After the children have glued down their creations, hot glue may be needed to reinforce some of the heavier bones.

Objectives: After viewing pictures of dinosaur skeletons, the students will create their own dinosaur skeletons using chicken or turkey bones.

Directions: The students are to create dinosaur skeletons using chicken or turkey bones. Each student is to choose various sized bones to paste onto a piece of cardboard. Some of the heavier bones will need to be reinforced with hot glue. The teacher is to help if that situation occurs.

Self-checking: The student either completes the activity in this center or doesn't.

Scheduling: No more than five students can be at this center at once. Students should not spend more than thirty minutes at this center.

Materials Needed for Center:

1. Chicken and/or turkey bones
2. Pieces of cardboard (from old boxes)
3. Pictures of dinosaur skeletons

Dinosaur Graphing Center

A chart with dinosaur information on it is needed for this center. The chart should have the weight, height and length of different dinosaurs. Students are asked to create graphs showing some of the information provided and also to answer math related questions about the charts and graph created. Need some writing help click here to hire essay writer

Objectives: After reviewing a dinosaur information chart, students will create graphs depicting a specific aspect of different dinosaurs and will answer questions related to the created graph with complete accuracy.

Directions: The students are to choose five dinosaurs to examine. The teacher will rotate the aspect that is to be looked at throughout the course of the unit. The students are to create bar graphs showing how tall, long, or heavy particular dinosaurs were. After the graph is completed, questions will be asked of the students in regards to the height, length, or weight of the dinosaurs.

Self-checking: Once the student completes the graphing activity and answers the related questions, a peer is to cross check the work to note any errors made.

Scheduling: No more than six students should be at this center at once. No student should spend more than 25 minutes at this center.

Materials Needed for Center:

1. A chart showing different dinosaur weights, lengths and heights
2. Graph paper

Dino-Definitions Center

This center is designed as a means of studying vocabulary related to the dinosaur theme. It is based off of the children's game "Memory." Vocabulary words studied throughout the unit will be printed on index cards. Those words' definitions will also be printed on separate index cards. A poster board will be used to place the hidden words and definitions on. This activity is a cooperative one requiring at least two students.

Objectives: After receiving and reviewing weekly vocabulary words, students will play the game "Dino-Definitions" by matching the correct term to its definition in the context of a memory game.

Directions: The student will begin by placing all of the cards on the poster board in the designated areas. The student will flip two cards over in an attempt to match the vocabulary word with the correct definition. If the word and definition don't match, the students are to flip those cards back over and continue the game. When a match isn't made, another student gets a chance to match a term to a definition. When a match is made, those two cards are to be placed in a "Dino-Match" pile (area found on the poster board), and the student that made the match gets another turn.

Self-checking: Students should consult the "Dino-Definitions" answer key to ensure that proper matches are made throughout the course of the game.

Scheduling: No more than five children should be at this center at once, and at least two students are needed to complete this center. No student should spend more than fifteen minutes at this center.

Materials Needed for Center:

1. Index cards
2. Six vocabulary words and definitions
3. Dino Definitions Answer Key
4. Large poster board (12 boxes for memory index cards should be drawn along with a box for the "Dino-Matches.")

‚Äč