Many kids love dinosaurs. When it's time to teach kids math, they may be more receptive to the lessons if you incorporate dinosaurs -- dinosaurs are more fascinating than staring at plain old numbers. Children will have fun looking at pictures of dinosaurs and thinking about them, as they use them to learn how to do math exercises.
Place a picture of a particular dinosaur on a piece of paper, such as a brontosaurus, and give it a brief description, such as, "This huge dinosaur only ate plants." Make a number-letter substitution code, such as "A=1," "B=2," and so on. Create math problems whose answers are numbers corresponding to each of the letters in the dinosaur's name. For example, the first problem would be, "5-3=." The answer "2" corresponds to the "B" at the beginning of the name brontosaurus. As the kids do all of the math problems, they will convert each number into its associated letter to learn the name of the dinosaur.
Count the Dinosaurs
Get pictures of various dinosaurs, such as a triceratops, diplodocus and pterodactyl. Arrange them in groups, such as three triceratops, followed by a plus sign, and then two more triceratops, followed by an equal sign and a line to fill in the blank. Create 10 addition or subtraction problems using dinosaur images instead of numbers, and have the students fill in the correct answers in numbers.
Age of the Dinosaurs
Show students a chart listing geological time periods, including the Mesozoic Era, when dinosaurs ruled the earth (see "The Geologic Time Scale" in Resources). Explain that dinosaurs lived for a period between 248 million and 65 million years ago. Have them subtract the latter from the former to find out how many millions of years the dinosaurs lived. Note that the Mesozoic Era is divided into three periods -- Jurassic, Triassic and Permian. Instruct the students to calculate how long each period lasted by subtracting the end year from the beginning year.
Weight and Size
Make a chart with pictures of various dinosaurs on it and their corresponding names. Beneath each dinosaur, label how much it weighed and how long and tall it was (see "Dinosaur Information Sheets" in Resources). Pick two dinosaurs at random. Have the students identify which dinosaur is bigger, and then subtract the weight and the size of the smaller dinosaur from weight and size of the larger one, to practice their subtraction skills. Ask them how many of the smallest dinosaurs it would take to equal the weight of the largest dinosaur on the chart.
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