D is for Dinosaurs! And Dads!

by Michael Porter
Students in Pre-K 4 got the chance to play paleontologist during the Dads and Dinos event on January 19. At the top of the morning, Dads accompanied their students to their classes for some fun activities.
"We have been studying dinosaurs this whole week because we are working on the letter D," said teacher Rose Ennis. "We've introduced discovering dinosaurs and we did a 'dig the dinosaur egg' where we broke them open to discover the dinosaur inside."
The Dads started arriving first thing in the morning. To spend some quality time while waiting for everyone to arrive, Dads and their children sat at tables or on the rugs to participate in some quiet activities.
The Dads seemed delighted at the chance to play with toys or color pages, no doubt reliving some old memories!

Next was Morning Meeting. Everyone sat in a circle on the floor, and the greetings began. Each student greeted their neighbor and introduced their Dad to the group by name. This was great practice at making eye contact and a little public speaking.
Ms. Rose Ennis let her students show off their knowledge to the Dads. She pulled out a toy brontosaurus, and the students accurately identified its species. She inquired whether it was a plant eater or a meat eater. The students were able to determine it ate plants, and its long neck made it possible to graze leaves from tall trees, which is impressive knowledge for 4- and 5-year-olds!

The highlight of the morning was the opportunity to go on a paleontological dig to look for dinosaur fossils in our own LearningScape.
Students and their Dads headed for the sandbox, where they excavated "dinosaur eggs" made of plaster, baking soda, and coffee grounds. Inside each egg was a toy dinosaur!
The kids and Dads skillfully unearthed the eggs and broke them open with mallets. Then, like real paleontologists, they used brushes to remove the plaster from around the artifact.

The children have had some memorable learning experiences this week. Using the letter D as a catalyst, the teachers were able to delve into some in-depth information on dinosaurs and spark an interest in many students. What's more, they were able to demonstrate their knowledge with their Dads.
"I loved today. I loved having all the Dads here, and I hope they had a great time too," said Pre-K 4 teacher Justine Jeans. "I loved all the hands-on activities we had for the Dads to do with their children."
To wrap up the morning, the Dads and kids were treated to another D — donut holes!
"Who doesn't want a donut hole?" Ms. Jeans said.