Studying with COVID-19: Dinosaurs
With the COVID-19 pandemic, parents are finding themselves more involved in their children’s education than ever before.
With schools across the world closing and parents working from home during the global COVID-19 pandemic, many parents are finding themselves more involved in their children’s education than ever before. This is a challenge, but also an opportunity.
In this series of articles, we’ll take a look at the activities you can pursue with your children, encouraging their studies while enabling them to work independently.
Here, we’ll look at what you can do to teach your child about the eternally fascinating world of dinosaurs. Through these activities, they will create and complete a workbook to show what they’ve learned.
Designing their workbook. Whether on a computer, drawing or colouring in, your child should create a title page for their dinosaur project.
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Brainstorming dinosaurs. What does your child know about dinosaurs already? They should write this down - and at the end of the project, they can look back to see just how much they’ve learned.
Research in books and on YouTube. If you have any books in your house about dinosaurs, encourage them to read a key chapter or two. If not, there are countless educational YouTube videos on the theme. Younger children might like to start here, while older children might prefer the National Geographic’s 101 video (note that it begins with a scary predator scene).
Math with dinosaurs. The size of dinosaurs is emphasised in both videos, so draw on this! Younger children can get a measuring tape out and see how big an apatosaurus or stegosaurus really was. Older children can calculate how many of them could squeeze into your house, or how many times larger they are than your child or than their pet.
Research a favourite dinosaur. Using different resources (e.g. books, YouTube and Wikipedia), get your child to find out as much as they can about their favourite dinosaur: when it lived, what it ate, and what a typical day in its life might have been like. Then they can present their findings to you, using software such as PowerPoint.
The dinosaur and me. Switching to creative writing, and drawing on their new-found dinosaur knowledge, your child can write a short story about meeting a dinosaur in real life.
Review Jurassic Park. For children aged 8+ (as recommended by the BBFC), get them to watch and review the classic dinosaur film Jurassic Park. As well as reviewing the plot, characters and special effects, how accurate is the film, based on their research? Would they recommend it, and why?
Design a dinosaur. Whether by drawing, on the computer, or modelling in clay or Play-Doh, your child can now draw on their knowledge of dinosaurs to design their own. Emphasise how it should be adapted to its environment - for instance, if it’s a herbivore, does it have a long neck to reach tall trees? If it’s a carnivore, how does it hunt down its prey?
Certificate of completion. Once your child has completed their dinosaur workbook, present them with a signed certificate declaring them a certified dinosaur expert.