Students will compare and contrast features among different types of dinosaurs.
Ask your students to raise their hands if they have ever seen a dinosaur in a movie or on television. Great follow-up questions include: What are some movies or television shows with dinosaurs in them? Where can you see dinosaur skeletons or models?
Next, ask your class if anyone has ever seen a real, live dinosaur—not a dinosaur in a movie or in a museum. Follow up with more questions, such as: Has anyone in the world ever seen a living dinosaur? Why or why not? What is left of dinosaurs that lived millions of years ago?
Explain that dinosaurs lived so long ago that no human being has ever seen a live one. This means that we have to guess, or make theories, about what dinosaurs looked like and how they behaved.
Let your class know that they will make guesses about dinosaurs, based on what they have left behind.
Tell them that scientists who study dinosaurs are called paleontologists. Write this word on the board.
Explain that paleontologists make theories about dinosaurs, and sometimes they're wrong. These paleontologists must use clues to develop theories about dinosaurs.
Write the word fossils on the board, and explain that fossils include dinosaur bones, dinosaur footprints, dinosaur teeth, and even dinosaur eggs.