As part of their study of food chains and food webs, the 5th graders discussed how scientists have built knowledge of dinosaur food chains. The students concluded that ancient teeth fossils are the clue to this knowledge; from herbivores’ flat grinders, to carnivores’ sharp incisors, and omnivores’ combinations teeth, fossils can reveal a lot about the dinosaurs. The class also discussed how scientists can date the existence, and the extinction, of dinosaurs through carbon-dating fossil-rich, deep geological rock layers. Then, the students modeled dinosaur food chains using cards, and then modeled possible food chain interruptions and determined which creatures would have died first, next, and so on, if sunlight was blocked for a long period, and plants died. They found that even carnivores would be impacted, as their herbivore food sources would die off.
Finally, the class created a dinosaur fossil dig site! Each student participated in digging, brushing, and washing bones.
Next they will face the paleontologist’s greatest challenge: classifying and reconstructing the bones into whole or partial dinosaurs. Tricky work ahead; good luck 5th graders!