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Web of Life    Mystery 6

M6thumb dinosaurs final

Why did the dinosaurs go extinct?

Beginning Exploration (1 of 12)
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Beginning Exploration (2 of 12)

DISCUSS:

How could scientists figure out what dinosaurs ate by studying fossils?

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Beginning Exploration (3 of 12)
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Beginning Activity Prep
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Activity Prep

In this activity, students will use cards and connectors to build a food web from the time of the dinosaurs. Using this model, they will follow the flow of energy through the food web and figure out why dinosaurs went extinct but some other animals survived.

Step 1: Figure Out How Much Space You Need

We recommend having students work in pairs, with each pair making a food web. (Students at home can work alone.)

A completed dinosaur food web takes an area that’s about 2 feet by 3 feet. Students can work at desks or tables, or on the floor.

Step 2: Print Out Materials and Gather Supplies

Each pair of students or solo student making a food web will need:

Each student will need:

To make connector strips for a class of 32 students working in pairs, you’ll need:

  • 7 sheets of black construction paper
  • 15 sheets of construction paper in a bright color

To make strips for just one food web, you’ll need:

  • half a sheet of black construction paper
  • 2 or 3 sheets of construction paper in a bright color

Step 3: Prepare Connector Strips

For this activity, having access to a paper cutter will make your activity prep really easy.

Cut the black construction paper into strips measuring 3” by ¾”.

Black Construction Strips

Cut your colored construction paper into strips measuring about 4” by ¾”.

Color Construction Strips

To make each food web, students will need:

  • about 20 black strips
  • 30 colored strips
Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Exploration (4 of 12)
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Beginning Exploration (5 of 12)

DISCUSS:

How do you think a single asteroid hitting the Earth could cause all the dinosaurs to go extinct?

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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Exploration (6 of 12)
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Activity: Create a Dinosaur Food Web
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Beginning Exploration (7 of 12)
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Optional Extras

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the Exploration & Activity you just completed.
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Activities

The American Museum of Natural History in New York has a great Dinosaur Curriculum Collection (Grades 5–8; lesson plans included). Check these out:

  • Walk Like a Dinosaur!: Dinosaurs were reptiles…with a twist. Find out what makes a dinosaur a dinosaur by doing the dinosaur walk.

  • Solve a Sedimentary Layers Puzzle: What happened when? Test your fossil-hunting skills by working out this dino timeline.

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Reading and Resource:

The Name Game

Dinosaurs are usually named for the people who find them, the places they’re found, or the way they look. Sometimes, though, scientists have a bit of fun with it, as you’ll see when you read about a new dinosaur called Dracorex hogwartsia.” (Sound familiar?)

To find out more about how dinosaurs are named, check out this site.

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Videos

It may be hard to believe, but there are dinosaurs around us every day. You might even have had one for dinner last night.

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Art Project

Scientists and artists work together to imagine how dinosaurs looked and lived. Here, you’ll watch a video, read an article, and then create a dinosaur of your own.

Click here if you want to know the name scientists gave this dinosaur

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Readings

Readings from Newsela are free with registration. They’re available in English or Spanish and can be adjusted for reading level. A writing prompt and quiz questions are available for each reading. (Readings below are all Grade Level 5.)

  • “The Dino Files” is a great introduction to dinosaurs of every shape and size.
  • Read about a duck-like fossil that looked so weird people didn’t think it was real.
  • This article tells of a surprising find: bits of shellfish in the fossilized poop of a dinosaur that (supposedly) only ate plants.
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