Discovering Dinosaurs

Contributor: Nicholas Bongio. Lesson ID: 13059

What do we know about dinosaurs and how do we know it? Study fossils and bones to discover dinosaurs...from what they ate to how big they were to why they resemble the birds of today!


Life Science

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


What's the biggest and scariest living carnivore you can think of today? Did you think of a polar bear perhaps? Now, multiply the weight of a polar bear by 15 to get an idea of how heavy the Tyrannosaurus Rex was!

Read on to learn about these gigantic animals that once roamed the Earth!

Dinosaurs came in many shapes and sizes, including large dinosaurs the size of a bus and small dinosaurs the size of a house cat. Dinosaurs had varied shapes, diets, habitats, and behaviors.

  • How do we know?

Watch How Do We Know What Dinosaurs Looked Like? from BrainStuff - HowStuffWorks:


Dinosaurs are closely related to the crocodiles and birds that are alive today. Crocodiles may seem like a logical conclusion; dinosaurs and crocodiles are both large reptiles, right?


  • But how about birds?

Birds are actually very similar to dinosaurs in many ways. They lay eggs just like reptiles. They have hip bones and other skeletal features that resemble dinosaur fossils, and they have feathers, which have been found on some dinosaur fossils. The most famous of these fossils is the Archaeopteryx.

Look closely at the Archaeopteryx fossil. Can you see the impressions left by the feathers? Other dinosaur fossils with feathers have been found as well, although this is one of the most bird-like.

If you're really digging these dinos, check out the videos found under Additional Resources in the right-hand sidebar!

Now that you have seen the types of dinosaurs that existed, let's see if you can categorize some yourself in the Got It? section!

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