Dinosaurs in Agency Village

 When you are in third grade, you’ve already memorized the names of over 100 dinosaurs. When you’re teaching dino-science to third graders, you need to study first! It’s not good to call a Dilophosaurus by the wrong name. And, whatever happens, don’t call a Parasaurolophus  a Coelphysis!

Sitting at our “dig site”…. COVID safety distance of course!

South Dakota is actually internationally known for its dinosaur fossils. Unfortunately for us, all the fossil action is west of the Missouri River, or “west river” as it is known. We, however, are “east river” and thanks to the glaciers that sculpted our hills and our flatlands and dumped layers of sand, silt, and rocks upon it, any dinosaur fossils around here are waaaay under the surface. 

Do we let that fact stop us?

Of course not!!

Using our dig tools to carefully reveal the dinosaur bones.

We just create our own “Dino-Dig” site. Then, we issue safety glasses, tiny hammers and golf tees (i.e. Rock hammers and picks or digging wedges), and paint brushes (to brush the rock and carefully reveal the fossil.) 

Then we go out to the front grass area of the school and we “dig” our “fossils” out of a clever mixture of sand and plaster of paris… which turns out to be as hard as concrete, though thankfully responsive to repeated hammering!

Each paleontologist unearthed a (plastic) dinosaur skeleton and a real shark tooth fossil. Wow- the excitement was palpable!

“Look! I found a dinosaur’s butt!”

We (teachers) had our dinosaur identification charts at hand. Of course, we were the only ones who needed them. Mis’un was clearly the most knowledgeable third grader paleontologist and could actually SPELL the names of the dinosaurs we found. The fossil shark teeth were a major hit, engendering much excited discussion about the size of the shark.

There’s a fossil in here somewhere!!
Makes you want to be a third grader again, doesn’t it?