Life in a dinosaur nest
3 July 2008Add to My Folder
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This poster gives simple information about the Maiasaura dinosaur (featured in the film Jurassic Park) and how it lays eggs and cares for its young. The nests of the Maiasaura were bowl shaped and were about 2m in diameter, 75cm deep, and 8-9m apart so the adults could get between them without stamping on them.
The information in this poster is presented in a series of simple and compound sentences within a flow diagram, supported by illustrations. Children working at the beginning of Letters and Sounds Phase 5 should be able to decode the text, although they may need some support with some subject-specific vocabulary.
Shared learning and teaching
- Talk about birds, eggs and nests. Ask what the children already know about these things and the life cycle of birds. A real nest with egg shells would be a particularly helpful prop but, if not available, use pictures and models. Look at the size of different bird’s eggs – some can be quite large compared with the chicken or duck eggs with which the children are likely to be most familiar.
- Ask if the children know anything about how dinosaur babies were born. Explain that they also came out of eggs. Compare a Maiasaura egg to a grapefruit, for size.
These activities will develop skills in: using talk to organise, sequence and clarify ideas and events; finding information in non-fiction texts; writing labels and captions; forming simple sentences.
- Look at the poster title and layout and talk about what they expect to find out from reading the text.
- Focus on the cyclical arrangement of the diagram. Where might be the best place to begin reading the information?
- Read the sentences, applying recently learned phonic knowledge to decode the text.
- Read each sentence again, pausing after each one to talk about its meaning.
- Ask the children to suggest additional captions for the pictures on the poster. Is there any information we could add in between each stage shown in the pictures?
- Model how to orally construct questions about the text. Then ask the children to do the same, working in pairs.
- Model how to write questions about, and additional captions for, the text.
- Talk about other things that can be represented in a cyclical diagram. Gather ideas and model how to present these – eg, classroom routines, such as taking equipment out and putting it away correctly. Take photographs or sketch drawings of the stages in the process. Discuss the order, arrange the pictures in a cycle, then demonstrate the sentence construction of suitable captions.
Key learning outcomes:
- To find specific information in simple texts;
- To convey information in simple non-narrative forms;
- To write chronological texts, combining words, images (and sounds).
- To explain organisational features of texts;
- To draw on knowledge of texts when deciding on/planning what to write.
Independent and guided activities
- Look at a range of information books – either about dinosaurs, eggs, animals, or another theme. Make up questions about things you want to find out from the books.
- Invite the children to produce their own cyclical diagrams for an activity or event of their choice, adding pictures and captions – eg, how to ride a bicycle. Display these.
- Ask the children to choose one picture from the poster and to add labels, using the information given.
- Use the activity sheet to talk about and order events in the life cycle of a bird. The pictures will need to be cut out prior to use and could be enlarged and laminated. Arrange on a large piece of paper and add sentences and arrows.
- Review what you have learned about presenting information in diagrammatic forms. Would this poster have been as interesting if it had been written out with words and sentences only, without pictures? How does the cyclical layout help?
- Share cyclical diagrams that the children have made. Invite the children to talk through their diagrams with the class. Show them how to point to the appropriate parts to support the speaking and listening.