Sometimes the best lesson activities…

come from a student. That was the case today. I had prepared a lesson in conjunction with the dinosaur unit on Pangaea. We began by looking at the globe. I told students that the same dinosaur fossils have been found in South America and Africa. How is that possible?

Students pondered the question and came up with two theories:

1.) the bones that made the fossils floated from Africa to South America or

2.) the dinosaurs swam from Africa to South America.

We talked about what happens when something sits in water for a while….it disintegrates. So, kindergarten theory number one was a no go. As for kindergarten theory number two…. there were no dinosaurs that swam. (Shocking, I know…but  plesiosaurs were reptiles that lived during the time of the dinosaurs and were technically not dinosaurs!) There were several confused faces…

This was my opportunity to rock the students’ world….drum roll please…I excitedly shared that scientists say that when dinosaurs lived millions of years ago the earth was believed to have been one super continent called Pangaea! Cue the video clip…

Gasps! The light bulbs went on. A student raised his hand and said very matter of factly, “So Mrs. Delwiche. I think we should be each one of the seven continents. I know we have ten students but maybe some can share. We can be the continents and start together as Pangaea and then spread apart to show how the continents have moved apart. We could sing the continent song while we do it.”

What a perfect way to illustrate this tricky concept! I created sentence strips with the names of the continents on them and handed them out to students. We assembled in order of where the continents are located and created this fun video:

Pangaea….continents…continental drift….I love that these students are eager to learn and use such sophisticated vocabulary!