Activities for Fun and Learning
Whether kids have formed their own dino groups for fun, or teachers are looking for ways to bring science to life in their classrooms, we offer a selection of questions and projects related to T. rex. These are excerpted from Bones Rock!, a brand new book by BHI president Peter Larson and his co-author Kristin Donnan. A complete Teacher's Guide is included in the book.

Sixth-grade science teacher Nicole Keegan calls the Bones Rock! activities "very well rounded," with "both concrete and abstract thinking involved." She says, "The abstract thinking is in the open-ended style questions that allow students to imagine and come up with answers for themselves, and there is, virtually, no right or wrong. Children like to dream and imagine and if they have the background information to do so, they will and what you get in return will amaze you!" Thanks, Nicole, for the assessment!

The following Sample Questions and Sample Projects are related to subjects we've discussed in the content pages of this site, from T. rex In-depth and Paleontology. They are intended for various age groups, so see where you fit in! As this site progresses, we'll post answers, along with discussions of activities you might want to suggest!

  Sample Questions
  1. Why do paleontologists argue?
  2. What things would you consider when looking for a particular kind of fossil? (You may choose more than one.)
    1. What color is it?
    2. What environment did it live in?
    3. What did it eat?
    4. Where are good rock exposures?
    5. How old is it?
    6. Are there geologic maps for the area?
    7. Were there specific hard parts that might be preserved?
    8. How big was it?
    9. Is it rare?
    10. Who owns the land?
  3. What types of information might a field map provide?
  4. What is a “rooted” tooth, and what can it tell you about a fossil site?
  5. What are pathologies, and why are they important?
  6. How long do you think an individual dinosaur might have lived?
  7. What are the “characters” of a carnivore's tooth, and how do they differ from an herbivore's and an omnivore's?
  8. Who is credited with the “discovery” of evolution?
  9. What is special about the way birds breathe?
    1. They have a system of air sacs
    2. They have relatively small lungs
    3. They have a “one-way” respiratory system
    4. All of the above
  10. What would you study as a paleontologist? Are you a specialist, a generalist, a geologist, a botanist? What are your favorite aspects of the science of paleontology? If you're interested in subjects other than paleontology, what else might you study?

  Sample Projects
  1. Using skeletons only (no obvious flesh parts!), see if you can “map” some gracile and robust body parts in class. Perhaps outline shoulders on the black board—use the largest boy and the smallest girl. Or trace arm bone widths and shapes on paper. What about feet? Check elbows, hips, and head circumference.
  2. Save chicken bones from a family dinner. Boil them, clean them of all soft tissue, dry, and reassemble the bones. (Too bad, no head! Maybe everyone can make a new one out of, well, anything else.)
  3. Discuss whether shopping in the grocery store is a predator or a scavenger behavior.
  4. Read about a famous recent earthquake, tsunami, or natural disaster. How did it affect the way the earth looks now? Ten thousand (10,000) years from now?
  5. Watch Jurassic Park, Dinosaur, and various documentaries on dinosaurs. Do you think the dinosaurs are moving and behaving correctly, or in ways with which you agree? Do you see any mistakes? What makes you think they're mistakes? What might you change about these creatures?