Submitted by: Maureen Myers
Trachodon (meaning “rough tooth”) is a dinosaur identified only by a few of its fossilized teeth that were found in Montana. This fun, stringing activity is inspired by this little known creature.
- To learn about dinosaurs (especially the Trachodon) and their teeth
- To promote counting skills and eye-hand coordination
- To teach measurement, comparison and prediction
Before You Start:
Read a book about this or other dinosaurs and show photos to the children. If possible, make a visit to a museum which has fossils of dinosaurs. Find pictures of dinosaur teeth; try to show children a replica of a dinosaur tooth if possible. Point out how some dinosaur teeth look rough and smooth in different places, and how some are pointed and some are rounded kind of like packing peanuts. Some dinosaurs, like the Trachodon had many large teeth in their very large mouth. Gather items needed for activity: packing peanuts (foam or other), string or yarn, bags for each student to use to divide the packing peanuts into groups of 100 and plastic needles. The teacher may want to cut lengths of yarn/string, tie a knot at one end of each of them, and thread the needles ahead of time.
Let’s Get Started!
Let children prepare bags of peanuts by counting them out in increments of 20, 25, 50 or 100, based on their level of math skill. Each child should have their own bag of peanuts.
Give children a length of yarn threaded through a plastic needle. Demonstrate to children how to stick the plastic needle through the peanut and push the peanut along the string/yarn to the knotted end.
Have children string their own peanuts in 20, 50 or 100 increments. Place in a box until you have 2,000 peanuts strung.
When the children have their segments, take them out to the play area for some math, measurement and prediction activities.
Ask children to predict how far all the segments would stretch when they took them outside and connected them. Ask children, “Do you think they will all fit in our play area? Why? How can we make them fit?”
Talk about how large some dinosaurs were again and ask the children to estimate how many segments it would take to be as long or tall as a certain dinosaur. Have the children use their segments strung together to approximate or represent the sizes of various dinosaurs or dinosaur parts. When segments are connected to create various lengths, stop to ask the children how many peanuts there are total, reminding them how many are in each segment.
This project should be done over a week or more; put it on the math and/or science table and let children work on it as they choose. Segments can be strung together to approximate sizes of many other objects such as vehicles or large animals, to measure playground equipment, or to see how long all the children are when lying down head to toe.
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