Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Our Dinosaur Unit Study

Jude and I are trying out unit studies.  Some days, work is a battle because of his learning differences -- he's definitely not a "read the textbook" kid.  With a unit study, we both get what we want - he wins and gets watch a video about a subject every day (how did people homeschool before YouTube?) and I win because lapbooks challenge his listening and fine motor skills.

Our first study is on dinosaurs. Jude has been enjoying learning about dinos, and sharing what he already knows.  (There is an entire Power Rangers series devoted to dinosaurs!)  He fell in love with our first video, and insists on watching it every day.  I have to say, I love it, too.  Check it out!

The "spine" for our course is a lapbook from Hands of A Child.

Hands of a Child Dinosaur project pack PK-6

I love HOAC lapbooks in general, but what I am particularly liking about this one is that it doesn't "dumb down" information for younger students, but it's not so far over his head when he's at the younger range.  This one, for students grades PK through 6, is perfect for him because it has the content appropriate for an older student, but only needs the motor skill set of a preschooler.

Trace cutting lines with a different color to help cut out parts of a lapbook without accidentally cutting folding lines

One thing that Jude struggled with was cutting lines.  With cutting lines and folding lines, he wasn't sure what to cut and what to leave.  We found that going over the "cut here" lines with a marker helped him figure those out.

On this one, the between-lines of the left column were cut to make peek-a-boo flaps.  On the printed copy, they are dotted lines, but Jude was used to cutting lines being solid.  A quick go-over with our marker, and he just cut on the lines that were purple.  As he said, "It's easy peasy lemon and squeezy!

One of the exciting things we found out was paleontologists (that's people who dig up fossils!) found a T-rex in the western United States.  The dino's name is Sue, and she's the biggest, most complete fossil ever found.  Since Sue is pretty far away (she lives in Chicago), we looked at pictures of dinosaurs from our trip to the Smithsonian Institute's Museum of Natural History.

Paleontologists with a sense of humor.

Did you know that there was a dinosaur discovered in New Jersey?  The Hadrosaurus foulkii is the state dinosaur of New Jersey.  (Out of curiosity, we searched online and found out New Jersey is one of only eight states that has a State Dinosaur.)  The fossils for this duck-billed dinosaur were the first ever mounted skeleton, and are the fossil found in 1858 in NJ is the only known skeleton for this genus.
Hadrosaurus foulkii The New Jersey State Dinosaur
Image source: NJ Department of Environmental Protection,Division of Water Supply & Geoscience

We watched what became my favorite video - The Top 10 Dino and Fossil Discoveries with Steve Brusatte.

We also read a related book,  Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff.  We used VocabularySpellingCity to find a spelling list, and worked on the activities there and practiced penmanship with them.

 We did lots of other activities too - check out our Pinterest Board to see what else we found to do, as well as some potential field trip ideas.  Connecticut has an entire Dino Trail!

Follow Meg @ Adventures with Jude's board Homeschooling Unit Study - Dinos on Pinterest.


What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary?

A Thesaurus! 

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  1. This is Awesome! Thank you for sharing! So glad I found you at the squishable baby homeschooling link up :-)

  2. My friend had actually just told me about unit studies last week, and it happened to be about dinosaurs. She is going to be homeschooling next school year, and I am benefitting from her research. While I do not have the patience nor the courage to homeschool I do want to start refining the learning time I do with my 2 year old. I think these unit studies are awesome, and my boys love dinosaurs!! Thanks for sharing! #shinebloghop


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