Monday, July 15, 2013

Dino Day!

A few weeks ago, the Museum hosted a fun day in partnership with another attraction, Exploration Place. Because I'm the Education Director (aka Curator of Fun Stuff), I put together the activities for this fun Dinosaur-themed day.


Here are the activities and a list of supplies we used for each:







Amber Egg-Sploration


So this idea is so creative - my mom took control of this one. She made "amber" eggs out of orange Jello. The Jello was placed into plastic Easter eggs and as it began to set, a "fossil" was put inside of it. She put in gummy butterflies or dinosaurs. We had a real piece of amber with an insect in it from the collection to help explain to kids what they were looking at. They were able to eat the amber egg and learn at the same time! Supplies needed: Jello, Easter eggs, gummies, spoons, plates, wet wipes, egg cartons.

"Amber Eggs" In a Carton


Toy Dino Station


For kids who need a sensory break or really just love dino toys, we had an arsenal of dinosaur toys out. A great place to find accurate representations of dinos is Safari. We just put ours out on a table and the kids had fun. Supplies needed: Dino toys.



Fossil Sediment Station


The MOST popular activity we have at the Museum is our fossil sediment station. Anytime we have it out on the floor, people line up to participate. This has a threefold reason: First, it's unexpected. Second, it's challenging. Third, you get to take home anything you find. In this bucket of what looks like dirt, people have found shark teeth, sea shells, sea urchin spines, sting ray plates, barnacles, and more! This stuff is fossil sediment from the Carolinas, distributed by the PotashCorp, a phosphate company. The sediment is available at no charge (really!). You have to send them an email with an education url and education mailing address for them to send you a huge bucket of sediment. For more info, email me. They even ship free! We have the guests put anything they want in a Ziploc bag and write their name on it. The easiest way to have them look through it is to put a small scoop onto a paper plate and use a pencil and magnifying glass to search through it. One bucket of sediment lasted us a year with around 8,000 school kids digging through it.
Supplies needed: Fossil sediment, Ziploc bags, Sharpies to write names on bag, paper plates, pencils, magnifying glasses.

Compare-a-saurus Station




Isn't our volunteer adorable here? She's helping guests measure dinos with life-size rope and paper foot drawings. The rope is measured from head-to-tail for dinos. Sizes of dinos are found all over the web. We used Triceratops (32 feet long), Velociraptor (5.9 feet long), Stegosaurus (23 feet long), and Brachiosaurus (100 feet long). Just measure out the correct number of feet with your rope and cut. We labeled them with pictures of the dinos so the kids could know what they were looking at. The feet were a little trickier to get life-size. I used a projector and my laptop and marked them out on a huge piece of paper first - then I made sure the projected foot lined up with my paper markings and finished drawing them. Comparing feet was fun for the guests, but the best thing was seeing them unravel the 100ft. Brachiosaur that spread the entire length of our building! We had to use a bucket to keep it from getting tangled. Supplies needed: Long rope, scissors, dino lengths. For footprints: Big paper, markers, dino measurements.
Guests testing out how long the Brachiosaur was with rope!


Meet the Paleontologist Station

Well I know that not everyone has access to a paleontologist - but if you're looking to have a dino event, call your local university. Sometimes the geology departments have paleontologists on board who can come to your event and show their stuff. Our staff paleontologist did just that. He's been working on an outcropping in the next county over and brought in his recent findings to share with guests. He also wore his full get-up, hat, vest and all! Some kids were much too nervous to meet him, while others were star-struck.  Supplies needed: Paleontologist. :)

Our paleontologist examining his recent finds - note his sweet outfit!


 Fossil Skeleton Station

A more challenging station for guests was the fossil skeleton station, where we used pasta and printable dino skeletons to create fossil replicas. This was fun and made a neat take-home craft. The kids simply line up the pasta with the bone outlines to make the skeleton complete. It's a pre-cursor to what paleontologists who prepare skeletons do and a nice sensory activity. This one can take the kids awhile though, so be prepared to have some sit for awhile! We used spaghetti, rotini, macaroni, colored craft pasta, and bowtie pasta.
Supplies needed: Printable dino skeletons, Elmers glue, macaroni, toothpicks or pencils to help the kids move the noodles, a place to let things dry.






 Well, hope you enjoyed this little snippet of Dino Days! We look forward to doing another activity like this soon.

Until next time,


Jillian









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