Children and adults alike love learning about dinosaurs and I hope you’ll enjoy reading my latest collaboration with Andrew Plant, The Little Dinosaur. Since this is a review site looking at how picture books can be used to introduce science themes, I’ve decided to include it here. Since I cant really review my own book however, I’d like to point you to some other worthy review sites.
The Little Dinosaur sits apart from other dinosaur books, which are usually about North American or European dinosaurs. In the Cretaceous, Australia was part of a land mass called Gondwana and the climate was quite different to what we experience today. Below the Antarctic Circle, Australian dinosaurs had to search for food in ice and snow.
Dinosaurs fit into a number of places in the curriculum, both from the point of view of biological sciences and earth and space sciences. There is the opportunity to look at adaptations and environment and how the features of these little polar dinosaurs suit them to their enviroment. Over time the earth changes a great deal, Australia moves North and new types of plant and animal life emerge. The book is in two parts, the dinosaur becomes a fossil and we follow the steps that scientists take to recreate the past based on clues hidden in the rocks. It therefore fits into Science as a Human Endeavour and is a practical application of Science Inquiry skills.
There are links to teacher’s notes on my website and a crossword puzzle and wordsearch. Also some links to useful websites.
Follow up activities could include making fossil imprints of leaves or shells in dough, plaster of paris etc. I’ve used something called paper magiclay because it doesn’t leave a mess. You can download or make stencils of dinosaurs and create a Cretaceous scene.
NATIONAL CURRICULUM LINKS (as from ACARA)
Biological sciences (Year 1)
Living things have a variety of external features
- recognising common features of animals such as head, legs and wings
- describing the use of animal body parts for particular purposes such as moving and feeding
Living things live in different places where their needs are met
- exploring different habitats in the local environment such as the beach, bush and backyard
- recognising that different living things live in different places such as land and water
Biological sciences (Year 3)
Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non-living things
- recognising characteristics of living things such as growing, moving, sensitivity and reproducing
- recognising the range of different living things
- sorting living and non-living things based on characteristics
- exploring differences between living, once living and products of living things
Biological sciences (Year 4)
Living things, including plants and animals, depend on each other and the environment to survive.
- investigating the roles of living things in a habitat, for instance producers, consumers or decomposers
- observing and describing predator-prey relationships
- predicting the effects when living things in feeding relationships are removed or die out in an area
- recognising that interactions between living things may be competitive or mutually beneficial.
Biological sciences (Year 5)
Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment.
- describing and listing adaptations of living things suited for the Australian environment
- explaining how particular adaptations help survival such as nocturnal behaviour, silvery coloured leaves of dune plants
- comparing types of adaptations such as behavioural and structural
Earth and space sciences (Year 1)
Observable changes occur in the sky and landscape
- exploring the local environment to identify and describe natural, managed and constructed features
- recording short and longer term patterns of events that occur on Earth and in the sky, such as the appearance of the moon and stars at night, the weather and the seasons
Earth and space sciences (Year4)
Earth’s surface changes over time as a result of natural processes and human activity
- collecting evidence of change from local landforms, rocks or fossils
- exploring a local area that has changed as a result of natural processes, such as an eroded gully, sand dunes or river banks
Author: Catriona Hoy
Illusttrator: Andrew Plant
Working Title Press, 2012