Adventures for Junior Paleontologists

I took my dino-loving kids to the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. They have monthly Discovery Days and this month’s theme was Making Monsters: Science in Art. It was our first time to the museum and we instantly fell in love.

For $3 per person we received admission to the museum and got to participate in several awesome activities that blended science and art. We listened to a paleoartist, Brian Engh, talk about how he works with fossils and paleontologists to create the artistic renderings of what they believe the dinosaur looked like and the environment it lived in. What a cool job!

The first activity was about how to draw dinosaurs. We chose from several step-by-step drawing worksheets to sketch the dino of our choice. Next we cut out tangrams and arranged them on the page to create our own dinosaur. Then we chose from a selection of cut-out fossil body segments that we pieced together to create a new dinosaur. Finally, we were given a scavenger hunt list with different Pokémon characters. We had to find the fossil in the museum of the dinosaur that inspired each Pokémon character. Super cool. My Poke-fans loved this part.

  

The Alf is a fantastic location with imaginative hands-on activities that my junior paleontologists enjoyed. We will go back and I highly recommend it. Such a treat on a Saturday afternoon.

And because we can’t get enough fossils, we went to the Homeschool day at the La Brea Tar Pits a few days later. There were very few activities this time around so I was not as impressed, but homeschool day gives us a chance to go down into the Observation Pit which is usually closed unless you’re on a guided tour. We love it down there!

Resources for Junior Paleontologists:

 

 

 

New Pterosaur Exhibit at the Natural History Museum

Digital visualization of flying dinosaurs

Like most kids, my children have interests that pass. I thought dinosaurs and woolly mammoths would pass. I nurtured the interest like any good parent and expected the next year to bring a new love. And it did. We have added many new loves to our list, but one thing that has not passed is dinosaurs. In fact, it has grown into a love of paleontology and archaeology. A fascination that stays with us in a way that we are often pinched with the bug to find new ways to feed our fossil fire. Where can we dig? What can we watch? What’s in that rock?

This year we purchased an annual pass to the Natural History Museum, which also includes admission to the Tar Pits and the Page Museum, and the William S. Hart Museum. We were planning a trip anyway to explore, and we wanted to see the Mummies exhibit before it left so it made sense to just purchase the annual pass knowing we would get several uses out of it.

We’ve wondered what might take the place of the mummies that occupied the space downstairs near the cafe, and we were excited to learn of the Pterosaur exhibit. We were surprised through, that the exhibit is near the main member entrance and the space downstairs is still behind covered windows.

We entered the new exhibit on a member-only preview day so the crowds were limited once inside. It was sort of magical for us because we have such a polished appreciation for the age of dinosaurs and other creatures from long ago. We walked into rooms filled with fossils, and replicas, and informative plaques, and short films, and life-sized models of the Pterosaurs that once took to our skies. Some hover overhead, similar in size to the school bus in the parking lot. Some were smaller than your cat.

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There are interactive screens, like a video game, where you can dive for fish or hunt for bugs. My son loved that part. My daughter liked using the joystick to learn how the Pterosaurs used their wings to harness the wind during flight. I liked the room near the end with the Pterosaur replica soaring over the water. Such a beautiful display.

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I expected to pass through quickly, as my kids often do, jumping from one display to the next. But this one lasted. They took their time. They explored. They watched. They enjoyed. This one is definitely not to be missed.

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Learning with Graphic Biographies

learning with graphic biographies

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We found a set of comic-style nonfiction books that are really cool. The Graphic Library books are published by Capstone Press and they have topics on everything ranging from the Vikings, to Colonial America, to the Titanic. They even have a science-themed set that covers biology, the environment, and so much more.

I like these because my son likes comics, but I only let him read the ones in the Sunday paper, these books, and the Dinosaurs series by Papercutz. Once in a while I let him get a graphic Garfield, but I like it best when he reads normal books. Still, I like to give him the opportunity to read books in a style that he enjoys, but I get the satisfaction of knowing that he is learning.

Since it’s Black History month, we’ll be grabbing a few about important people and events from this topic. There really are so many to choose from, but here are some that you may want to consider:

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Great Civil Rights Leader (Graphic Biographies)

Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad (Graphic History)

Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott (Graphic History)

Nat Turner’s Slave Rebellion (Graphic History)

George Washington Carver: Ingenious Inventor (Graphic Biographies)

Matthew Henson: Arctic Adventurer (Graphic Biographies)

Wilma Rudolph: Olympic Track Star (Graphic Biographies)

Madam C. J. Walker and New Cosmetics (Inventions and Discovery)

Jackie Robinson: Baseball’s Great Pioneer (Graphic Biographies)

Martin Luther King Jr  Jackie robinson

rosa parks   matthew henson

 

Book Images courtesy of Amazon.com

Giveaway! Free Dinosaurs Fact Cards

Dinosaurs Fact Cards

I’m super excited about being an Usborne Books & More Independent Consultant because I love the products. I’m hoping that running a giveaway will encourage other parents looking for fun and educational materials for their children to take a few minutes to browse my store page. I know you’ll fall in love with the things we have to offer. I’ll be giving away a free set of the Dinosaurs Fact Cards.

Click on the link below to enter the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you have any Usborne books or activities? I’d love to hear what your favorites are!

 

Usborne Publishing Ltd. (UK) has no connection with these pages and does not sponsor or support their content.