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Or "Reptiles Large and Small - God made them all!"
A Dinosaur Unit Study - Intro
© Cheryl Lazarus
reprinted with permission of www.saltfactory.com
This Thematic Unity study was designed for grades 1-3, though it should be easily adapted for older students as well. This study will cover all academic skills, though supplementary material should be added for Mathematics and phonics. Or use the study in addition to your regular curriculum or as a summer-time study only. This study will take children through the history of dinosaurs, the known facts and theory's of dinosaurs, and cover what evolutionary and creation scientists say about dinosaurs and the fossil record. Children will see how dinosaurs fit perfectly with the Word of God and learn how to better discern between God's Word and what the world tells them. In addition it should provide children with enough information to stand firm in their belief of our Loving Creator, His creation and the Genesis record.
Children will be confronted with evolution their entire lives. As parents we should not try to "hide" this information from them - they see it all around them every day. What we need to do is teach them and empower them to rightly divide the truth. That is the goal of this study, to teach our children to think for themselves and learn HOW to rightly divide the truth. The current worldview of dinosaurs is in exact opposition to the Word of God. We can not teach our children that the Bible is true, while also allowing them to believe that no man ever saw a dinosaur, that dinosaurs once ruled the earth and that they "evolved" into birds millions of years ago! The "scientific" evidence for these claims is so non-existent that even your 5 to 9 year-old can discern the truth once presented with the real facts.
What I have found is that my children have blended Creation and dinosaur evolution together (much to my dismay) even though they have always been taught from a creation perspective. It is my belief that children did not "learn" the evolutionary "facts" about dinosaurs overnight, nor can they be dispelled overnight. It will take a thorough study to uncover what they know and sort out fact from fiction. In the process, it is hoped that children will learn to discern the truth for themselves and not believe everything they hear or see in any medium without giving the idea any further thought. While you are going through this study ask a lot of questions and listen to their answers. Take notes - make sure that you cover and adequately answer their questions, especially those that promote evolutionary theory or thinking. Go slow, and do your best to show them the answer and not just state it. Do not worry too much about their current beliefs about dinosaurs in the beginning of the study. Just make note of what they say for future reference. As the study progresses, they will begin to see the answers for themselves, which is exactly what we want.
It is recommended that parent's do their own study on this subject if they are not already well grounded on where the dinosaurs fit in with the Word of God. Though, in just doing this study along with your child, you too will learn as you go, right along with them. You may want to pre-read the books and materials the students will be using, so that you are one step ahead of them.
As the children work through these activities they will be recording and collecting data. All of the projects will tie together at the end of the project in compiling everything they have done into their own special book, which they can keep, share with others and refer back to over and over again. The children should be told that they will be making their own book and to do their very best work. They should be encouraged to share what they are learning with others as they learn it and to share their completed book with others when they are done. They will have their own, self-made witnessing tool at the end of the study.
They will learn a variety of new skills and develop critical thinking skills.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:
We will cover basic dinosaur facts and explore the unanswered questions regarding dinosaurs. Sorting fact from fiction and comparing what we know with what God says, seeing how it fits together. We will cover evolution verses Creation, presenting both sides and ask the students to use their critical thinking skills to determine which makes more sense. This unit study will cover the Creation, the Flood, and the book of Job in addition to other scripture verses. We will also be exploring fossils and the fossil record, facts about individual dinosaur species and some of the varied reasons that may have lead to the extinction of dinosaurs as well as other animals and plants.
Students will be able to:
1. Better discern God's involvement in every other area of academic study.
2. Demonstrate how to compare what they learn in the world to the Bible and what God says.
3. Demonstrate a better understanding of God's Creation and how dinosaurs fit perfectly with God's Word.
4. Demonstrate how to think, reason and research independently.
5. Understand that science is based on repeatable facts and can not answer all questions - the final authority is God and His Word.
6. Demonstrate the difference between evolution and Creation.
7. Effectively communicate God's design of dinosaurs
8. Complete a portfolio (book) of what they have learned in this unit study.
The activities in this unit will cover the following subjects. (Note: Math and phonics subjects are not complete in this unit and should be supplemented where necessary).
1. Bible: Memory verses and daily reading
2. Math: measuring skills, estimating, number sequencing, addition, subtraction and multiplication
3. Vocabulary: introduction of new words and meanings
4. Spelling: introduction of new spelling words from written and oral projects
5. Grammar: daily correction of all written work
6. Handwriting: will include copy-work of Bible verses, quotes, poems, etc and will be corrected daily.
7. Reading: daily reading of Scripture and books regarding dinosaurs (both orally and independently).
8. Phonics: Using phonics to sound out dinosaur names and other new words - rules explained.
9. Science: this unit will cover paleontology, fossils, how scientific data is gathered, classifying data, etc
10. History: early earth history (pre and post flood era), timelines, etc.
11. Geography: map skills
12. Art: Various art projects including drawings, paintings, etc
13. Music: singing songs about dinosaurs, making up new songs
14. Physical Ed: Dinosaur exercises
15. Health: will discuss possible reasons for the extinction of dinosaurs, leading into how we should care for our world and our bodies to the glory of God. Procreation.
The following resources are needed before beginning this unit study. Other resources and materials are listed in each daily activity area. You will want to plan your lessons at least one week in advance, making sure that you have the materials available for the activities you plan to do that week and that you are prepared to teach the material.
2. Lined writing paper
3. Plain paper for drawings/paintings
4. Sheet protectors (to hold students work and protect it from wear, tear and smudge marks).
5. 3-ring binder (to hold all of the papers until the book is put together at the end of the study).
6. Report cover (to hold the portfolio/book together - I would wait and purchase this towards the end of the study to determine what size cover is needed).
7. Dinosaur Cards by Frank Schaffer Publications, Inc (These are available where children's posters are sold. Comes on a poster board, and you cut the cards apart. Try locating them at Learning Palace or make your own using pictures cut out from an old evolutionary book on dinosaurs and the dinosaur dictionary provided here.)
8. Dinosaur Stickers by Educational Insights (dinosaur stickers with names listed.)
9. Dinosaur Card witness set from Answers In Genesis
The books listed here present a creation view of dinosaurs and fossils, or are neutral on the subject unless otherwise noted. They are sometimes difficult to find at your public library - but DO check there first! You can even ask if they will order them for you - hey, it sure can't hurt to ask! I would recommend purchasing many of these books for your own personal library. These are wonderful books that can be a great witness to others and the kids enjoy referring back to them.
1. Dry Bones and other Fossils by Gary E. & Mary M. Parker
2. How to Draw Dinosaurs by Michael LaPlaca (Note: this has a "caveman" in it - but is mainly used by the teacher to instruct children on how to draw a dinosaur and has no blatant referrals to evolution.)
3. God Created the Dinosaurs of the World (collector book with stickers) by Earl & Bonita Snellenberger
4. Usborne Dot to Dot Dinosaurs (Note: this book does have references to evolution - I just cut them out and gave the children the activities to do without the words!)
5. Dinosaurs and the Bible booklet by Ken Ham (book also available)
6. Science & the Bible by Donald B. DeYoung
7. Noah's Ark and the Great Flood by Gloria Clanin
8. What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs
Video & Music materials:
Be sure to check at your local public library for video and audiocassettes too!
1. The X-Nilo Show Video
2. Buddy Davis Music Cassette or CD
3. Wee Sing - More Bible Songs cassette and songbook (optional - may use any Christian music cassette for kids)
Additional books worth checking out from the public Library:
1. How Big Were the Dinosaurs by Bernard Most
Daily Activities explained:
Each lesson is setup to cover between 2 to 3 hours of teaching. If our interests take us more time, we will pursue them and not worry about the amount of time spent on the lesson. Some may take a whole day, while others may go far more quickly. The quoted hours are based on how long it actually took one parent to teach each lesson to two children. There is a "date completed" box next to each lesson for record keeping.
Before beginning the study each child will need to have a new spelling and vocabulary page. To make the spelling and vocabulary page simply use 2 pieces of lined paper. On the first write the heading "New Words I Learned" and on the second write "New Words I can Spell". These will be used throughout the study for new spelling and vocabulary words and will become a permanent part of the book the student makes. These pages will placed at the end of their book when the study is complete, making their own glossary. When not in use keep the spelling and vocabulary pages in the sheet protectors for safekeeping.
Bible Memory Verses:
Write the new verse on the blackboard. If you do not have a blackboard, write it in large print on a piece of paper and put it on your refrigerator. The idea is to have the verse in plain sight for the child to see whenever they want. Say the verse with your child, pointing to each word. Then ask each child to read the verse, helping him as needed. Ask the child what they think the verse means. Explain anything about the verse that they do not understand.
The children will write all of their memory verses on a sheet of paper continuing to add new verses as they go through the study. You can make a heading for the verses on a sheet of paper like "Verses I put in My Heart" or simply "Bible Verses I Learned". This will become a part of their book and will also serve as a sample of their handwriting skills. Remind the children to always do their best in everything for the Lord. When the child has memorized the verse reward his or her efforts with a dinosaur or other sticker. They can place the sticker next to the verses that they have memorized.
New verses are introduced throughout the lessons. Continue practicing each verse even if they children learn it before a new verse is introduced. The repetition will help them plant it in their heart, where it hopefully will never be forgotten. In memorizing longer Scripture, say the verses several times a day, out of the classroom setting. Encourage them to do the same. At first, the longer verses may seem overwhelming, but remember, your children can learn new lyrics to whole songs easily by repetition - think of the long Scriptures the same way and keep at it.
Look up unfamiliar words:
Each day you should look up any unfamiliar words in a dictionary or Bible dictionary with the child, showing and teaching them how to do this. Be sure to begin by explaining alphabetizing if they do not already have practice or skills in this area. Explain to them how to use the guidewords at the top of the pages as you look up new words. You will want to do this each day. The goal is that by the end of the unit study the child can look up words in the dictionary on his own. Read the definitions and have the child write the words down on his vocabulary page with a definition in his own words. Explain multiple definitions and ask him to decide which meaning best fits with what you were reading. If the child is not yet fluent in spelling and writing, have him narrate his answer (take dictation for him) and then have him copy the words you wrote for him. When having children do copy-work it is important that you use good handwriting, spelling and grammar skills. Suggested vocabulary words will appear throughout the study.
Teacher reviews writing and explains errors:
Where this notation is made the teacher should review the students writing for punctuation, grammar and spelling. The child is to revise his or her work until it is correct. Give them all of the help they need, explaining the rules and why they are necessary. Don't let them become frustrated with this, work with them and review it together, reminding them it needs to be right for their book. Any misspelled words should be entered onto the child's spelling page and practiced later.
Throughout the study Christian music should be incorporated. Though music is not mentioned in each activity, playing Christian children's music and songs while the children do artwork, while driving in the car, or while doing house chores is a great idea, especially those with a creation theme. This will serve to reinforce the Creation message in the study and get God and dinosaurs together in our thinking. Whenever there is an opportunity - play the Buddy Davis tape, or another Christian kids tape.
Check out a lot of books from the library on the subject you are currently teaching and integrate them into the study. For instance, while reading about Noah and the Flood in the Bible, we checked out numerous storybooks on Noah and read them in the evening. This really seemed to help the children retain a lot of specific information about the story. The children were even able to pick out errors in the storybooks, without prompting, which is just the kind of critical thinking we are hoping for.
In checking out books on Dinosaurs and fossils, you will really need to pre-read the material before making it available to the child. Many dinosaur books are graphically violent - and most have evolutionary statements presented as facts. In doing this study it will be unavoidable, we used books based on overall content. Some we chose for the pictures and avoided the evolutionary data. With other books, after the first 2 to 3 weeks, the children were able to discern the facts from fiction in the books. Others, I read aloud, changing the story where necessary while reading. This problem serves to reinforce the notion that you should have a well-stocked library of creation/dinosaur books and support the writers of such materials. When your children outgrow them, donate them to the public library.
On to LESSON 1